As US pulp markets limped through the weak demand season of summer, buyers pressured down regular contract prices across key grades but spot market erosion slowed. Pricing for the benchmark northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) dropped $50-80/tonne as buyers pared back the wide differential between deals done on and off-contract. Meanwhile, the world’s biggest producer of hardwood announced a $20-50/tonne price increase, effective Sep 1. US NBSK preliminary effective list prices declined with the $50-80/tonne decrease as some buyers pivoted from spot purchases to fill up volumes with regular contract tonnage. US SBSK preliminary effective list prices were down $60-80, according to P&PW surveying. After a spring and summer in which producers lost volume to competitors offering cheaper spot market deals in both NBSK and SBSK, buyers are only refilling contract volumes where suppliers concede to bigger month-over-month decreases than in spot markets.