Paper prices have seen a marked decrease - with some distributors saying the current pricing level for printing and writing paper is almost 45% lower than the same time last year.

Mepco Gulf managing director, Fadi Baakhlini said paper prices had begun to fall after October last year.
“The uncertainty in the market and its psychological effect is what has contributed to the problem,” he said.

According to Baakhlini, there was a “strong demand” during the first quarter of the year because printers had stopped importing and were replenishing their stocks.
“The second quarter will be stagnant though.  In the last quarter, we will see a price increase because mills are cutting capacity which will lead to a short supply.”

He said printers would be under pressure for payment as they do not keep large inventories.

Meanwhile, managing director at Gulf Printing Press Services, Hassan Dakroub said the current pricing level was because EU mills had reduced their prices by between 20% and 25%.
“The EU was hit hard by the financial crisis long before the  Gulf,” he said.

According to him, the prices would be “stable” this year.
“They may vary between $20 and $30 per metric tonne,” said Dakroub.