BEIJING, CHINA , March 17, 2014 (Viewpoint) -
The Asian printing & writing paper market experienced another disappointing year in 2013 as both demand and producer margins were weak due to gloomy global economies and overcapacity issues. According to the latest RISI graphic paper forecast, Asian printing & writing paper demand edged up just 0.8% (translating into only a 370,000 tonne gain), slightly below the 1.2% pace in 2012 and well below the 3.6% pace of 2011. This lackluster performance mainly resulted from the sluggish global and regional economic growth which hampered advertising and hurt commercial printing. In addition, ongoing shifts from print media to electronic media continued to hinder growth. China and Japan, the top two paper-consuming countries, of course played dominant roles in determining the growth trend in Asia. In China, the lagging (but still healthy) economy, a de-emphasis on paper use due to environmental and energy concerns and new government anti-corruption policies all took a toll on paper demand in addition to competition from e-media. Demand in Japan fell 3% in 2013 due to a drawdown in producer inventories and competition with electronic media. For the rest of Asia, we show demand growth of 1% or 450,000 tonnes, even with the pace in 2012.
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