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Record year for paper exports expected

UK recovered paper exports are on target for a record-setting year, with a 15.3% year-on-year increase in Q1 for 2016.

Figures from the Confederation of Paper Industries Q1 show 1.403 million tonnes were exported, beating 1.156 million tonnes in Q1 2015. It is predicted that whole year figures will reach 5.612 million tonnes, passing the 2015 record of 4.880 million tonnes.

But after a decline of 15.8% for domestic mill usage in January, followed by a futher 18.2% decline in February, consumption picked up in March by 282,813 tonnes, resulting in a year-on-year increase of 8.6%.

Overall mill usage in Q1 was 9.4% lower than the same quarter in the previous year.

OCC prices remained static due to average demand, with incoming volumes said to have fallen 15-20% compared year-on-year, with some estimates as high as 30%. The EU referendum and general economic uncertainty are two major reasons given for the decline.

The mixed paper trade has seen improved demand from domestic mills and also from overseas buyers with domestic values haven risen from £60-£65 per tonne to £63-£67 per tonne by the end of April with some sellers reporting figures in excess of £80 per tonne for export.

In China, the mood has changed as markets have stabilised and improved during trading this year compared to the same period in the previous year. Traders reported conditions to MRW as “quite stable” and “not bad.”

  • There is a full report on the paper market in the next issue of MRW.

Recovered paper exports (million tonnes)


   Q1  Full year
 2008  1.325  4.847
 2015  1.156  4.880
 2016  1.403  5.612 (annualised)

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