Board Converting News, January 8, 2024

al willingness for independents to assist each other when possible. We remain open to sharing information and knowledge with other industry participants. It has always been part of our DNA. I think it was Blanche Dubois (The Tennessee Williams play, ‘A Street Car Named Desire’) who said she relied on the ‘kindness of strangers.’ Well, in a way, we all can use help occasionally and when we have a problem needing a solution, we look to others who have already faced that problem. Even with the competitive na- ture of our business, there remains a general goodwill and a ready willingness to help others. I hope we can maintain that positive impulse! It says a lot about who we are.” BAY CITIES Pico Rivera, California: Greg Tucker reports, “Walking into 2024 will be a very interesting stroll. We have an election year, a hangover from inventory and a promised recession com- ing. But wait, how can there be a recession looming after the stock market blasted through the strato- sphere just after cratering earlier in the year? Well, like I started this commentary, it’s an election year! How do you think Chair Powell sud- denly ‘postured’ that interest rates will drop three times Converter Outlook: Part I (CONT’D FROM PAGE 22) Greg Tucker

next year? Because it is an election year. O’ Biden got to- gether with Powell and begged him to signal that rates are coming down. Sure enough, the stock market rallied, the Christmas cheer boomed, and everyone is happy as clams. “What is a bit striking is we still have M2 high as a kite, business loans are dropping off, housing is a mess (try buy- ing one) and one of the worse things we have going for us is that we are now 33.7 trillion smackers in debt. This made treasury auctions a bit scary during the last few terms. We are lucky, because where would the world go to build the next ‘dollar?’ China? Russia? Europe? Who knows. “The other giant issue about to smack us in the face is the commercial real estate market. Large cities have no renters thus the vacancy rates are huge, and the property owners are now having to refinance all of their debt with valuations of their skyscrapers in the tank. This is not only happening in big cities it is everywhere. One of the worst is Minneapolis. That bright shining city of the north, pinned down by Target and storied companies like 3M. Our Sum- mer of Love wiped the town out and nobody wants to come back and rebuild. Who knows, that could be the next Detroit. There are many others. Anyone want an of- fice building in downtown Portland? “What we as box makers need to be very careful of, is our friends in the business and their customers who may have loaded up on capital expansion and now have to re- CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

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