POS Supply Solutions Blog


Global Thermal Paper Shortage Updates and Information



Challenges Persist, More Price Increases Coming

October 18, 2018

The receipt paper industry continues to face cost pressures due to the ongoing market challenges (a critical shortage of leuco dye, reduced production, the rising cost of wood pulp, and transportation and labor, etc.)

In the last month, we have received price increases from virtually all our supplier base. The largest providers of thermal receipt paper have each made public market increase announcements which were effective October 1st, 2018 (see letters below). Each supplier has referenced these same variables as the cause for the increase. Bond paper continues to be limited as the effects of reduced production impacts the supply availability. We have incurred price increases from all major bond paper mill sources (see letters below).

As a result, POS Supply Solutions will be forced to implement a 4-6% price increase on the following paper and label products, effective with all shipments as of November 12, 2018:

We will continue to work with our suppliers to minimize price increases, delayed shipments, and supply chain shortages as much as possible. POS Supply Solutions strives to offer our customers the very best combination of quality products, superior service, and competitive pricing.

We thank you for your continued support of POS Supply Solutions. Our team is committed to keeping you updated with ongoing market conditions. As always, please call or email us with any questions.


Thermal Paper Mills:

Appvion October 2018 price increase letter

Koehler October 2018 price increase letter

Mitsubishi October 2018 price increase letter


Bond Paper Mills:

Domtar September 2018 price increase letter

Glatfelter September 2018 price increase letter

Boise Paper August 2018 price increase letter

International Paper August 2018 prince increase letter



A Perfect Storm Continues

August 23, 2018

It’s been several months since our last update on the leuco dye situation in China and the global impact on the supply and price of all thermal paper grades. In 2017, we were optimistic that this “perfect storm” would not last long and the market would settle back to normal conditions. As of right now, the climate has not improved, and will not improve for at least the remainder of 2018.

The forecast for 2019 could be more of the same price and supply challenges we have experienced in 2018. The leuco dye supply coming from China continues to be limited, running well below traditional capacity necessary to meet market demand. Several Chinese chemical companies have been closed for environmental issues or inspections with no announcement of coming back on stream in 2018. Other chemicals used in the thermal coating process, including blue leuco dye, MAP, and BPS, are now in limited supply and may cause similar supply chain allocations and increased costs to the coaters for the balance of 2018. Many coaters have been using blue leuco dye mixed with the black leuco dye to stretch their available capacity.

Because of these issues, the global market suppliers have reduced 4th Quarter allocations to US converters by up to 12%. This reduction will not impact POS Supply’s ability to serve our customers in 2018. Our paper supply is strong and our machines are ready for the back to school and retail POS holiday demands.

Other global conditions have contributed to the price movement in recent months, including:

  • Pulp prices have risen 7%-10%. One of the major factors impacting pulp prices is China is no longer importing recycled paper waste from the US to use in their papermaking. Instead, they are buying virgin pulp on the open market. This new demand for virgin pulp is disrupting the supply/demand situation and driving up the pulp prices.
  • Base paper used in the thermal coating process is up 5%-10%, with some shortages of the lighter paper grades. Mills are looking for paper substitutions that will provide a quality product and improve their product availability levels.
  • Transportation costs are up in 2017-2018 over prior years by 10%-15%. This is due in part to driver shortages, increased wages and benefits, increased state and federal regulations and fees, and increased tickets and fines for violations.

At POS Supply Solutions, we are doing all we can to provide a quality product, while meeting the quantities required to keep your business rolling. Our team will continue to keep you updated on this global market and the challenges that come from this unfortunate “perfect storm.”

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We do appreciate your business and we will get through this together!



Supply Chain Disruptions Force Yet Another Round of Price Increases

June 25, 2018

The supply of both thermal and carbonless grades of paper continues to be affected by several key variables. These include massive cuts in the production of finished paper goods, a continued rise in the cost of pulp, and an ongoing shortage of leuco dye. Additionally, the US has imposed tariffs on groundwood grades coming out of Canada, and with the increased cost of pulp, virgin bond has also been impacted. Demand continues to outweigh supply, which is creating an ongoing inflationary market for the paper industry.

Because of these challenges, paper mills have increased their prices on all Point of Sale thermal, bond, and carbonless paper once again. Unfortunately, with these continual changes in the market, POS Supply Solutions is forced to pass along a price increase on paper goods shipping on or after July 16, 2018.

We are grateful for your continued business and support, and will continue to do our very best to keep you informed of any other market changes. As always, we are committed to providing your business with high quality paper rolls and exceptional customer service. Thank you.



Thermal Paper Market Remains Highly Volatile

May 9, 2018

The global thermal paper market remains volatile as supply chain inefficiencies continue to elevate finished-product pricing. We felt we should provide you, our valued customers and partners, with an update so you can plan accordingly for the remainder of 2018.

In our last update, we noted Connect Chemical had resumed limited production of leuco dye but were impacted by a shortage of the intermediary chemical (MAP). In addition, we noted many of the other underlying costs of thermal paper have risen dramatically such as pulp, additives, freight and currency fluctuations.

Until recently Connect, Chameleon, and Fukang, three of the largest producers, have all been supplying leuco dye to the global marketplace. In the last week we learned that Chameleon was shut down in order to address a waste leak issue in their industrial park - and that is expected to be resolved by the end of May. We estimate that combined production had reached nearly 70% of the available capacity - but with Chameleon now down we estimate that number to be impacted in the near term by at least 10-15%. Exacerbating the situation is the shortage of MAP, an intermediary chemical used in the production of leuco dye.

It’s also important to note that the Chinese government is taking a more aggressive approach to environmental conditions in China. While we applaud this as great news for the global environment, it does carry specific market consequences along with it. As the world’s largest producer of industrial chemicals, we project this change in Chinese government policy will have ongoing effects to production which ultimately impacts price. Another production impact we anticipate will come from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that will be held in Qingdao on June 9th and 10th. It is expected that most of the manufacturing companies in the region, including chemical companies, will be forced to stop operations for at least 2 weeks before the summit. The forced shutdown is an attempt to improve air quality in the region prior to visitors arriving for the summit.

The Chameleon shutdown, the constraint on intermediary chemicals, increased regulatory pressure, and pent-up demand are signals that the pricing for leuco dye and thermal paper related products in general will remain high for the foreseeable future.

In the last few weeks several global thermal paper suppliers have announced additional increases. Mitsubishi announced a 10% increase and Koehler announced a 15% increase, to name a few.

POS Supply Solutions’ goal is to continue to minimize the pricing impact for our customers. Though we have been able to absorb several of these increases, we are announcing a price increase on all thermal items shipping on or after Monday, May 14, 2018. Together we are experiencing an unprecedented time in our market and we do not take the disruptions which have occurred lightly. We value our continued partnership and appreciate the faith you have shown us over the last 6 months. As your point-of-sale supply partner, we assure you we will continue to fight to keep supplies readily available and at the best prices possible.

Thank you for your business and continued support! Please call us at 888-431-5800 with any questions.



Leuco Dye Production Is Back Online, But Other Problems Persist

March 19, 2018

In keeping with our commitment to provide our customers and partners with as much information as possible regarding the Global Thermal Paper shortage, here is the latest information we have.

POS Supply Solutions has confirmed that Connect Chemical in China has finally resumed production of leuco dye. However, their capacity is being constrained by 30-50% because of a shortage of the intermediary chemical MAP. We have also confirmed that Fukang, a smaller leuco dye supplier, has also resumed production, but we have not verified at what level.

Although the chemical production is coming back on line, it is important to note that market pricing for leuco dye remains at historically high levels. While we hope that as production continues the prices of leuco dye will begin to decrease, the constraint on intermediary chemicals and the pent-up demand for leuco dye may delay or prevent immediate reductions.

In addition to that, many of the other underlying costs of thermal paper have risen dramatically such as pulp, freight, currency, other chemicals. The strengthening economy in North America is putting stress on these additional cost drivers. Based on these current market conditions it is still possible that we could experience additional price increases in 2018.

POS Supply’s highest priority continues to be ensuring adequate supply for all our existing customers. Our partnership with our suppliers, proactive purchase measures, and market intelligence have made our efforts successful while several competitors have failed. As such, we will continue to execute against our strategy with your support to maintain adequate thermal paper supply to meet your needs until the situation is completely resolved.

We hope that these updates continue to provide clarity. Thank you for your business and continued support!


To see some of the lowest prices in the industry, see our selection of Thermal Receipt Paper Roll



Leuco Dye Shortage Continues, More Thermal Paper Price Increases Coming

March 1, 2018

The global thermal paper market remains volatile due to the continued shortage of leuco dye which is a necessary element in the production of Thermal paper. The production of the dye has yet to resume from the two major suppliers in China and there is still no definitive time frame as to when it will restart.

Unfortunately, due to the continued tightening of thermal paper production and allocation, mills and converters increased their prices again this month on all POS thermal grades 6%-15%. For examples, Jujo has gone up 10-15%, Hansol 9%, Kanzaki 8.5%, and Appvion 9-10% (see more info below from several of these suppliers.)

Understanding that we are experiencing unprecedented times and managing our businesses has become more difficult, we share your frustration. At this time, POS Supply Solutions will NOT increase prices on our best-selling thermal paper rolls. Fortunately, our current in-house supply and ongoing allocation has allowed us to maintain our current price. We don’t know how long we will be able to continue to do this so we encourage our customers to stock up if they are able.

As always, we will continue to provide our customers and partners with updates. We appreciate your continued patience, valued business and support.


For more information, please see letters/links below from some of the thermal paper mills:

Kanzaki Specialty Paper - February Increase

Hansol Paper Co. Ltd - March Increase

Jujo - March Increase

View our Thermal Receipt Paper Roll selection.



US Thermal Suppliers Face 'Unimaginable Situation' with 'Painful' Consequences

January 26, 2018

An update on the global thermal paper supply shortage from Pulp and Paper Week.

"Constantly escalating prices and a shortage of paper supply have made it very challenging to manage our day-to-day operations," US-based receipt and label solutions provider Iconex told customers in a message posted on its website January 19.

"Paper supply is still very limited, the major chemical providers are not producing, and raw materials providers are still passing price increases and surcharges at unparalleled rates."

The turning of the calendar brought no relief for North American thermal paper players, as global markets remain roiled by a combination of higher costs for everything from pulp to freight coupled with chemical shortages and a growing scarcity of paper.

"Constantly escalating prices and a shortage of paper supply have made it very challenging to manage our day-to-day operations," US-based receipt and label solutions provider Iconex told customers in a message posted on its website January 19.

"Paper supply is still very limited, the major chemical providers are not producing, and raw materials providers are still passing price increases and surcharges at unparalleled rates."

European producer Kanzan also took to the Internet, telling its customers in a Jan. 11 notice that "an exceptional and to this extent a previously unimaginable situation has arisen which has extraordinary and painful consequences for us all."

"The markets are a mess right now. Everyone is on allocation. Prices have gone up depending on grade 2% to 20% in the past month on thermal and carbonless," one US manufacturing contact said. "The more expensive the grade is to start with (top coated), the less of the increase. POS grades went up the most. Carbonless has gone up 6% so far this year."

The contact said SCK (supercalendered kraft) release liner products are also up 6% in January.

"People are probably paying a lot more but some multi-nationals are moving stuff from market-to-market, and, as the price goes way up, availability gets better, I guess," said contact with a base paper supplier.

Another contact, when asked if he also had knowledge of increases as high as 20% on thermal POS in January, replied: "Sure. There is no paper." The contact estimated supply curtailment to be in the order of 30-35%.

"Most if not all of the major thermal paper suppliers have had to take down time in the last 6 months and all of the suppliers that we deal with are managing their business through allocation," a converter contact said.

Root cause of the thermal turmoil is the shortage of leuco dye, which is used to coat thermal paper. The world's largest supplier, China's Connect Chemical, is into its fourth month of standstill, and, despite reports of renewed operation, nothing has been seen in the marketplace, sources said this week.



Global Thermal Paper Shortage - January Update

January 4, 2018

As a valued customer/partner, we would like to provide you with as much information as possible regarding the global thermal paper market.

The thermal paper market continues to see increased costs and limited availability from all thermal paper mills. This continues to stem from the availability of the leuco dye manufactured at Connect Chemicals.

Appvion, the largest thermal paper mill in the USA, announced another price increase on their economy grade POS thermal paper (Alpha 400-21. and Alpha 400-2.3). The increase is almost 9% on shipments as of January 1, 2018. This means that Appvion’s economy grade POS thermal papers have increased in cost by 29% since July 1, 2017. Twenty-four percent of this seems to be related to the global leuco dye shortage. Other thermal paper mills around the globe have announced similar increases.

The long-term outlook still remains cautious. Paper mills have placed converters on allocations and converters, in turn, have placed their customers on allocations.

POS Supply Solutions’ highest priority continues to be ensuring adequate supply for all our existing customers. Based upon our proactive measures, we remain well positioned to support our customers needs.

As always, thank you for your business and continued support.

View our Thermal Receipt Paper Roll selection.



Global Thermal Paper Shortage - December Update

December 4, 2017

**Thermal Paper Price Increase Coming 12/10**

As many of you have heard by now, the world's primary supplier of leuco dye (a dye required in the production of thermal paper) was shut down for several months. As a result, thermal paper mills have slowed and in some cases stopped production of thermal paper resulting in a worldwide shortage. As anticipated, prices on thermal paper products worldwide have risen rapidly.

Since October, we have incurred a number of increases. We anticipate more to follow in Q1 of 2018.

Although we have been able to keep our pricing low throughout this shortage, to keep up with rising costs, we are forced to raise our prices on all Thermal Paper products up to 15% effective December 10, 2017.

It is important to make you aware of this increase so that your business is able to plan and budget accordingly. If you expect to place an order soon, or if you are capable of bulking up on your thermal paper supply, we would encourage you to stock up now.

POS Supply Solutions will continue to update you as we learn more about the timing and pricing impacts of this global shortage. For more information, please visit our website, where we will post up-to-date information. You may also call or email us with any questions.

As always, we appreciate your continued business and support.



Global Thermal Paper Shortage - November Update

November 17, 2017

**Important update on the impact of Global Thermal Paper Shortages **

As many of you have heard by now, the world's primary supplier of leuco dye (a dye required in the production of thermal paper) was shut down. Our understanding is that they will remain closed for several months while they work to resolve environmental issues in their plant operations.

As a result, thermal paper mills have slowed and in some cases stopped production of thermal paper. These mills subsequently put all paper roll converters and distributors on "allocation", which means that supply will be significantly limited for the foreseeable future. As anticipated, prices on thermal paper products worldwide have risen rapidly.

Since mid-October, we have seen a number of increases totaling between 10-15%. We’ve also been notified that more increases are coming between now and December 1st. Initially, we were anticipating another 10% but now expect the next round to be closer to 15%, with yet more increases predicted for early 2018.

As a leader in the industry, POS Supply Solutions has commitments that we will continue to receive our normal rate of supply based on historical purchases from each of our suppliers - but, unfortunately, at rapidly escalating prices. As a result of stocking a deep supply of the most common thermal paper products, we have been able to provide a meaningful buffer against those initial increases. While we will need to pass along price increases again in the coming weeks, we are in a unique position to help minimize the impact on your business.

It is important to make you aware of this situation so that your business is able to plan and budget accordingly. If you expect to place an order soon, or if you are capable of bulking up on your thermal paper supply, we would encourage you to stock up now before the next price increases hit.

POS Supply Solutions will continue to update you as we learn more about the timing and pricing impacts of this global shortage.



Global Thermal Paper Shortage - October Update

October 18, 2017

As our valued customer, we want to provide as much transparency as possible regarding volatility in the thermal paper markets. There have been several recent developments in the global thermal paper market that are projected to create a disruption in the supply chain and the likelihood of significant price volatility. I am reaching out to all of our customers and partners in an effort to provide you current information and a better understanding of what’s happening in the market today, and what may occur in the near future.

Effective with October paper orders, thermal paper mills have put all thermal paper roll converters on allocation. These mills have been forced to allocate their tonnage because the world's largest supplier of leuco dye, a dye necessary in the production of Thermal paper, is located in an industrial park that has temporarily been shut down to address an unspecified environmental concern. That company, Connect Chemicals, will remain closed for at least three months, if not longer, as all businesses in this particular office park are asked to modify operations to comply with new regulations.

This shortage will ripple through all thermal paper mills worldwide. In fact, at least one major thermal paper mill has already significantly reduced their output. We've also heard that South Korea’s Hansol will be shut down. Other companies affected include Oji of Japan, Koehler & Mitsubishi of Germany, Torras of Spain, and Kanzaki of the United States. In addition to those, Appvion, the largest thermal paper mill in the USA, filed Chapter 11 on October 1. The filing was made to restructure debt and position the business to continue operations now and in the long-term, according to a statement from the company. It is reported that Appvion purchased thermal coating from Nagase, a USA company. Nagase closed their factories in the US earlier this year.

There has been a lot of speculation on what might happen moving forward, with no clear answers to date. A thermal paper shortage is very real and could last until mid-2018.

As a leader in the industry, POS Supply Solutions has assurances that we will continue to receive our normal rate of supply based on historical purchases from each of our primary paper suppliers. We have stocked up on thermal paper inventory and are also working with several other suppliers around the globe.

Our primary concern is that of our valued customers and your continued business. Please be assured we will continue to ship your thermal paper roll orders as normal. However, we expect pricing to increase rapidly. At this time we do not have any idea of how many increases to expect or the amount of the increases.



For more information about Thermal Paper, read our other blog posts:

Blog - Thermal Paper: What is it?

Blog - Thermal Paper: Components of Thermal Paper

Blog - Thermal Paper: Selecting the Right One For Your Application

Blog - Thermal Paper: Storage and Shelf Life Recommendations

Blog - Thermal Paper: Caliper and Basis Weight

Blog - Thermal Paper: Grades of Thermal Paper

Blog - Thermal Paper: Ways to Reduce Your Usage

Blog - Thermal Paper: What is Two-Sided Thermal Paper?

Blog - Thermal Paper: Super Saver Rolls are A Game of Inches