CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA , May 7, 2014 (Viewpoint) -
Recovered paper consumers and suppliers outside of China have had significant concerns about China's fast-growing recovered paper demand and imports. For two decades, China's recovered paper imports grew strongly in response to the country's double-digit growth in recovered paper consumption, and drove both world paper recovery rates and recovered paper prices up. But amidst a slowing domestic paper and board market and limited recovered paper supply worldwide, China's appetite for imported recovered paper has recently shown signs of slowing down.
China imported 29 million tonnes of recovered paper in 2013, 3% less than in 2012. Most of the import drop took place in the second half of 2013, when Operation Green Fence had a substantial effect on the market, and most of the import decline was from Western Europe, which was significantly impacted by the initiative. The slowdown in the Chinese paper and board market also contributed to the decline in Chinese recovered paper imports last year. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC), Chinese total paper and board output grew by only 1% in 2013, much lower than the average annual growth of 9% posted over the last two decades. Fundamental demand for recovered paper, therefore, was not very strong in 2013.
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