According to statistics recently released by the Fibre Box Association (FBA), industry shipments of corrugated products decreased 2.1 percent, from 34.916 bsf in December of 2020 to 34.195 bsf in December of 2021. Average-week shipments also decreased 2.1 percent, from 8.729 bsf in 2020 to 8.549 bsf in 2021. Shipments rose 2.8 percent year-to-date over 2020’s rate.

Containerboard consumption decreased 1.3 percent, from 2.7727 million tons in December of 2020 to 2.7372 million tons in December of 2021. Consumption, however, increased 2.3 percent year-to-date over 2020, from 33.0739 million tons to 33.8477 million tons. Containerboard inventory at corrugator plants increased 2.4 percent from November to December 2021. Weeks of supply remained at 3.3, or zero percent.

“U.S. retail sales dropped in December by the most in 10 months, suggesting the fastest inflation is taking a toll on consumers just as the nation confronts more coronavirus infections,” noted Dick Storat in his Scoring Boxes newsletter. “Retail sales declined by 1.9 percent last month, as 10 of 13 major markets and sales channels declined.”

Manufacturing activity continues to expand across all industrial sectors and it appears there is evidence that supply chain issues are being resolved, Storat wrote.