Summary of 2016 in the European paper sector

Compared to the uncertain situation in global markets, European paper production remained stable last year, according to the latest reports. Market analysts not only note that this trend has been in place for several years, but also point out that the European region performed better than other key paper-producing regions such as the United States and Canada.

Paper and board consumption in Europe has recorded an increase for the third year in a row. Figures show an increase in consumption of 0.3% last year. This is motivated by an increase in demand for specific types of paper products, especially hard paper packaging, hygiene products and specialty paper.

The increase in demand for paper also had its 'side effect' in the form of increased paper exports to countries that are members of the CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries), an association of European paper companies (Poland is represented in the CEPI by the Association of Polish Papermakers, based in Łódź - editor's note). Analyses indicate 4.5% more transport operations of various types of paper in the past year.

Despite this continuing trend and increased competition in global markets, the European paper industry remains a so-called 'net exporter', meaning that it sends more products abroad than it imports, exporting nearly 21% of paper produced.

There is also further good news for the European paper sector. Research shows that last year was a breakthrough year in terms of pulp production, recording a 2.7% increase in pulp and thus breaking several years of stagnation. Achieving such a good result was made possible by an increase of almost 18% in pulp exports to non-CEPI countries, especially those on the Asian continent.

However, this is not the end of the good news. The use of paper in recycling has remained more or less the same in past years, but increased slightly a year ago.

Collection of paper waste for recycling is also heading in the right direction, recording an increase of 1% in 2016. At the same time, exports of recovered paper increased by almost 6%, most of which (91.7%) went to Asia.

Elaborated based on CEPI data

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