The earliest known paper that is still in existence was made from cotton rags around 150 AD. Around 800 AD, paper made its appearance in Egypt but was not manufactured there until 900 AD. The Moors introduced the use of paper to Europe, and around 1150, the first papermaking mill was established in Spain, followed by England in 1495, and the U.S. in 1690.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the increased usage of paper created a shortage of cotton rags, which were the only source for papermaking. The solution to this problem lead to the introduction of the ground-wood process of pulp-making in 1840 and the first chemical pulp process 10 years later.
Today, the paper and paperboard industries, including newsprint, are sensitive to the economic cycle. As the economy strengthens, paper use increases, and vice versa.
Prices - The average monthly index price (1982 = 100) for paperboard in 2009 fell -4.8% yr/yr to 207.50, down from last year's record index high of 217.9. The average monthly producer price index of standard newsprint paper in 2009 fell by -14.5% to 126.6, down from the 12-year high of 151.8 posted in 2006.
Supply - U.S. production of paper and paperboard in 2008 (latest data) fell -4.5% yr/yr to 80.178 million metric tons. The U.S. is the world's largest producer of paper and paperboard by far, followed by Germany with 22.842 million metric tons and Canada with 15.773 million metric tons.
U.S. production of newsprint fell by -2.4% yr/yr to a record low of 414.6 metric tons per month in 2005 which is the latest data available. U.S. production of newsprint is second in the world, after Canada, which had production of 657.167 metric tons per month in 2005.
Articles from the Commodity Research Bureau (CRB) Commodity Yearbook. The single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available, the Yearbook is the book of record of the Commodity Research Bureau, which is, in turn, the organization of record for the commodity industry itself. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope is second to none. Additional information can be found at www.crbyearbook.com.