NewPage Paper has dropped a $20-$50/ton January price hike that it previously announced for a range of coated and uncoated paper products at the end of November, according to RISI.

"When no other paper manufacturer joined NewPage in the increase, it was destined to fail," a source tells FOLIO. "This bears out that the current paper market is experiencing softness."

Total U.S. printing/writing paper shipments fell 3.2 percent from September to October and are down 4 percent compared to October 2009, according to preliminary data from the American Forest & Paper Association.

Uncoated freesheet shipments fell 7.8 percent to 706,600 tons in October, compared to a year earlier. Shipments of coated freesheets (337,800 tons) rose 3.5 percent over October 2009 but fell compared to September 2010.

In the October issue of FOLIO: Magazine, Dan Walsh, vice president of publication papers for Bradner Smith & Company, predicted paper prices falling in the first part of 2011, but rebounding in the second half. "For at least the first half of 2011, look for paper prices to retreat and supply to become more readily available," Walsh said. "But with domestic mills continuing to show the resolve to extinguish more supply, paper prices could again be on the rise by next summer."