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European paper output dips in ‘stagnant’ 2013

Europe – Paper and board production in Europe totalled around 91 million tonnes last year, down more than 11 million tonnes from the peak figure of 102 million tonnes seen in 2007, according to preliminary statistics from the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). Both import and export figures were also down for the year.

′It appears that the overall consumption of paper and board in CEPI countries in 2013 decreased between 1.0% and 1.5% when compared to 2012,′ the confederation states. Some 45.9% of paper and board produced across the continent last year was packaging, with coated graphics at 16.6% and ′other′ uncoated graphics at 16.3% the next two largest stake categories. Newsprint represented 9% of total production, sanitary and household material 7.7%, and ′other′ paper and board 4.5%.

Paper exports had fallen by over 2% by the end of September with the main markets for exports being other European countries, which accounted for 35% of all exports. Asian countries took around 28%, while 11% was exported to North America, up from 10% in 2012. Imports of paper and board into Europe fell last year by roughly 5% from 2012 levels.

Imports from other European countries accounted for 40% of all imports in the first nine months. The North American share declined marginally from 34% in 2012 to 33%, while the remaining 27% was split almost equally between Latin America, Asia and the rest of the world. CEPI estimates that its members′ utilisation of paper for recycling increased by around 0.5%.

′The fall in graphic paper sector demand was offset by the more positive development in the packaging paper and board sector,′ the association adds. Early estimates suggest that world paper and board production increased by 1% in 2013 after a 0.2% increase in the previous year.

CEPI comments that following a ′stagnant′ 2013, EU GDP is forecast to grow by 1.4% in 2014 and 1.9% in 2015, which bodes well for the sector.

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