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Europe falls behind USA in paper export market

Spain – While the volume of recovered paper exported from America to China has grown by 3.3 million tonnes in the first two quarters of the last five years, Europe trailed behind with a growth figure of only 1.4 million tonnes over the same period, Ranjit Baxi, President of the Bureau of International Recycling’€™s (BIR) Paper Division, told delegates at this week’€™s Paper Round Table in Barcelona.

Once the prime exporter of recovered paper to China, Europe now continued to under-perform the US, Mr Baxi reiterated several times. ‘€˜Whether we are not giving the right price, or if the Euro is too strong, or if it is because of quality, somewhere we are not doing the right thing,’€™ he commented.

He suspected that the quality of material being collected across Europe could be one important factor, though the economic slowdown still hurting the industry was also responsible. ‘€˜We are going through difficult times, with global uncertainty in markets and threats of double-dip recession emerging,’€™ remarked Mr Baxi.

China’€™s anticipated 7% growth rate for this year was ‘€˜the slowest in 10 years,’€™ he added. Neither did India’€™s current economic woes offer much hope for recovery in the sector. A surge in container rates over the last 18 months had also made life ‘€˜very difficult’€™ for would-be exporters. The only positive prospect was if consumer spending began to increase, Mr Baxi believed.

Meanwhile, US-based recycling data service SCM (Secondary Commodity Markets) scrap-ex has reported that its global index for paper reached 105.29 on 24 October. This was the highest figure recorded for any material since the embryonic index, covering plastics and metals as well as paper, was established in August with a baseline of 100 for each material.

For more information, visit: www.bir.org

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