Global – The following article is based on the latest World Mirror on Recovered Paper produced by the BIR world recycling organisation for the benefit of its members.Major Asian importers of recovered fibre have been tightening their quality controls, with China examining the contents of more containers to check that the higher standards are being met. And in the future, ‘it will become even more critical to ensure that the grades of fibre shipped fully meet the international specifications’, contends BIR Paper Division president Ranjit S. Baxi of UK-based J&H Sales International in his report to the latest BIR World Mirror on Recovered Paper.
In the first quarter of 2013, OCC prices advanced from US$ 190-plus per tonne to US$ 205-plus just ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays, but subsequently weakened in March to US$ 200-plus, he states. Over the same period, mixed paper prices climbed from US$ 160 to US$ 170 per tonne before settling back at US$ 165. Deinking prices remained weaker while demand for sorted office paper and other middle grades was steady during early 2013. Freight rates remained reasonably stable during the first three months of the year, with marginal increases seen in March and indications further hikes are likely in the second quarter, according to Mr Baxi.
The Mirror report from the UK emphasises India’s particularly healthy appetite for multigrade, while demand for SOW throughout Asia ‘has continued unabated’ in response to increased production of white top liner. The same report also suggests that many UK brokers are declining to export lower-grade mixed papers until the impact of China’s quality crackdown is better understood.
Among other country-specific reports, it is noted from Spain that poor economic conditions have reduced recovered paper generation and made availability ‘very scarce’. The report adds: ‘Local demand continues to be strong given that paper mills are still producing at a healthy rhythm thanks to high export levels of close to 50%, resulting in fierce competition for recovered paper and therefore prices which are often even higher in the domestic market than in the export arena.’
In France, collections were close to the seasonal norm in January but have declined since February. In March, collection volumes fell slightly in Germany at a time of high demand for the 1.04 grade. ‘Despite the gradual reduction in production capacities in the newsprint sector, deinking grades sold quite well,’ it is observed. Meanwhile, mills in Italy are said to be struggling in the face of payment postponement risks and low profitability; price increases have been announced on finished products but doubt has been cast on whether customers will be prepared to accept such hikes.
In Northern Europe, recovered paper demand in Finland has remained ‘amazingly stable and strong’ in recent months whereas collection volumes are in slow decline owing to changing paper consumption trends and weather-related collection problems. In Sweden, domestic kraftliner mills are holding ‘very good’ order books; however, recent machine closure announcements will reduce total annual newsprint capacity by 475 000 tons.
Details of another closure come from the Czech Republic where the shutting-down of the Duropac Bupak Papirna mill in Ceske Budejovice has meant the re-direction of some 100 000 tonnes per annum of OCC to Austria, Germany and Poland. In contrast, the Paper Mirror report from Turkey confirms that a new facility at Kutahya began fluting and liner production earlier this year and that Kartonsan has signed an agreement to upgrade its KM 2 machine later in 2013, thereby adding 60 000 tonnes of annual capacity.
New regulations continue to impact the sector: under Finland’s new Waste Law, producer responsibility strictures coming into force on May 1 mean that the collection target for paper will be raised from 75% to 80%; and in Spain, it is argued that additional taxes relating to electricity co-generation and gas consumption have the potential to undermine the domestic paper industry’s competiveness, reducing its export potential and therefore increasing domestic availability.
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