The rise of toilet paper prices can unexpectedly be blamed on the housing market, the Los Angeles Times reports. As pulp costs climb due to sawmill closures, toilet paper makers have raised prices.
The housing downturn has sparked a crisis in lumber, sending futures tumbling more than 60% in the past 12 months. As a result, sawmills are closing. In Canada, the world’s largest softwood lumber producer, roughly a third of sawmill capacity is now shuttered in British Columbia.
That’s causing ripples across the global paper supply chain, which depends on the byproducts produced at the plants. Now, the world is facing a squeeze for wood pulp — the raw material for products like bath tissue.
Costs for pulp globally are climbing, and toilet paper makers including Kimberly-Clark Corp. have implemented price hikes in an effort to boost margins. U.S. retail prices for toilet paper have already surged about 20% from July 2021 to the end of last year, according to NielsenIQ.