Paper industry continues to suffer

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has released ‘Key Statistics 2013’,a report intended to give a clear picture of the industry’s performance last year.

The report includes data about production, consumption and the trade of pulp, paper and raw materials, as well as data on energy and environment.

Findings conclude that the pulp and paper industry is continuing to suffer from the slow economic recovery and the continued decline in newspapers and periodicals and magazines (PAMs) sales, as the trend towards online consumption of news continues.

Report findings

2013 is the third consecutive year that paper and board production has declined, since the rebound registered in 2010. CEPI members produced 91.1 million tonnes of paper and board in 2013, a decrease of 1.2 per cent (1.1 million tonnes) compared to 2012.

This year, total pulp production also fell by 2.2 per cent, but market pulp output increased by 1.3 per cent.

On a positive note, according to CEPI, the 18 countries where CEPI is active maintained a positive trade balance for paper and board, with exports exceeding imports by 14.8 million tonnes.

In a statement, the confederation noted: ‘The contraction in paper and board production observed this year is a result of the structural decline in graphic paper consumption in combination with the ongoing growth of paper and board packaging and household and sanitary paper. The good performance of the latter two sectors only partly offsets the erosion that the graphic paper sector is currently experiencing.’

The ‘graphic paper’ sector share of all paper and board produced in Europe (covering newspapers and PAMs)dropped to 41.9 per cent in 2013, a fall of 5.1 per cent on the previous year.

In contrast, the share of the packaging grades and sanitary and household papers is growing, and in 2013 represented 45.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively of all paper and board produced in Europe.

Industry is ‘highly affected’ by slow economic recovery

On the whole, the report indicates that the pulp and paper industry continues to suffer from the slow economic recovery. In 2013, weak economic conditions highly affected the consumption of paper and board – EU GDP registered a low 0.1 per cent increase (-0.4 per cent in 2012).

In addition, total paper deliveries fell by 1.2 per cent compared to 2012, as a result of reduced domestic consumption (-1.5 per cent) and a less dynamic export market (-1.2per cent).

Paper imports also fell more than five per cent.

Read the full report or find out more about paper recycling