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BIR Paper Mirror – January 2010

Archiv – BIR | The following article is based on the latest Paper World Mirror produced by the BIR world recycling body for the benefit of its members.

Recovered paper prices ended 2009 on a positive note and have carried forward this momentum into 2010 on the back of decent demand in Europe and Asia as well as a shortage of availability. BIR | The following article is based on the latest Paper World Mirror produced by the BIR world recycling body for the benefit of its members.

Recovered paper prices ended 2009 on a positive note and have carried forward this momentum into 2010 on the back of decent demand in Europe and Asia as well as a shortage of availability.

For European exporters, prices for OCC shipped to Asia have climbed from around US$ 150 per tonne at the start of last year’s fourth quarter to US$ 195 or more, while mixed papers are currently attracting upwards of US$ 180 per tonne compared to nearer US$ 145 in early October 2009.

Prices of news & pams, magazines, sorted office paper and coated book stock have also improved in response to an upturn in orders. In France, for example, deinking prices have been upped by Euro 10 to 15 per tonne owing to rising demand from the Asian market, leading to previously unseen pressure on the supply of magazines, overissue and coloured letter. In addition, the same country has reported price increases for the high grades of between Euro 5 and Euro 10 per tonne.

As ever, China has been a particularly voracious consumer of Europe’s secondary fibre – most notably of OCC and mixed papers. Overall, the Asian giant’s imports of recovered paper are believed to have totalled around 26.5 million tonnes in 2009. Furthermore, there has been a healthy flow of imports into India, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan, and also into Indonesia which has formally announced new import controls – including pre-inspection by approved surveyors – on shipments arriving after January 1 2010. New import procedures being proposed in Turkey also involve a requirement for pre-inspection certificates.

The prices that Asia’s recovered paper buyers are willing to pay for their imports have been influenced by more positive demand in traditional supplier regions such as Europe and North America, as well as by higher freight and haulage rates. Once again, exporters in Europe have pointed to on-going difficulties in obtaining container space.

In making their offers, recovered paper purchasers in Asia have also been forced to take account of significantly lower collection levels in Europe thanks to the effects on generation of reduced consumer spending and to severe winter weather conditions in many parts of the continent. According to feedback from Spain, mills are claiming that they cannot afford current price levels and some took prolonged breaks around the Christmas holiday period.

Available data indicate that, in 2009, recovered paper collection volumes slumped 15% in Sweden, 12% in Finland (news & pams -10% and OCC -8.5%), 10% in the Czech Republic, and 10-15% in the Baltic Countries. In the UK, where Saica has reactivated its containerboard mill project near Manchester, it has been suggested that demand is still exceeding the low level of supply and availability of all grades.

In the summer of 2009, the UK also saw the launch of Palm Paper’s newsprint mill at King’s Lynn. In the short term, domestic prices of news & pams moved significantly ahead of export levels; however, the latter have recently improved to virtually match the former.

Meanwhile, many countries have reported a significant decline in domestic recovered paper consumption for last year. For example, usage by Finland’s domestic paper and board mills is thought to have fallen approximately 23% while exports leapt some 27% to an all-time high of around 200 000 tonnes. In Sweden, mill consumption of recovered paper fell approximately 10% in 2009 owing to market-related stoppages and the closure of a production line at Holmen Hallstavik. At present, Swedish consumers’ OCC inventories are at very low levels owing to the considerable tonnages being exported from the south of the country.

The Baltic Countries have also pointed to healthy export demand for OCC and mixed papers following the development of new capacity in Poland, Hungary and the east of Germany. And they are also highlighting the emergence of a new buyer, namely the Ukraine.

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