Europe’s paper packaging exports to Middle East & North Africa to spike in 2020, forecasts new study

MENA region braces for more imports, as Gulf Cooperation Council governments push back with new duties

Boston, December 03, 2019 (Press Release) – Nations of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA) should expect a wave of paper packaging imports in 2020, according to the Middle East & North Africa Paper Packaging Outlook, a new Special Study from Fastmarkets RISI. European producers have historically increased exports to the region during periods of weak demand in Europe, but next year’s spike is expected to be more modest than in past years.

“The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has recently imposed duties on certain paper packaging imports from Spain and Poland,” explained Fastmarkets RISI Economist Abdulla Zaid, lead author of the new study. “These tariffs and other factors will help moderate next year’s import wave, compared to previous spikes in 2012 and 2016,” Zaid said.

Fastmarkets RISI forecasts that MENA’s 2020 recycled linerboard imports will jump 25% from 2019’s total. During prior periods of weaker European paper packaging demand in 2012 and 2016, these imports spiked nearly 76% and 48% year-over-year, respectively.

“Overall, the nations of the Middle East and North Africa are a bright spot for paper packaging growth, compared to global averages,” said Zaid.  “Over the past decade, MENA’s overall paper packaging demand rose by an annual average of 3.8%, as capacity grew at a 4.9% rate.”

Global leaders including IP, Mondi and Tetra Pak have stepped up investments in MENA production capacity. Imports’ share of overall MENA demand has steadily declined from 61.4% in 2008 to 51.5% in 2018.

“Demographic trends point towards ongoing growth in containerboard and boxboard consumption,” explained Zaid. “IP’s recent purchase of a corrugated box plant in Morocco, plus Mondi’s acquisition of an industrial bag manufacturer in Egypt, demonstrate the industry’s confidence in the future of the MENA region’s paper packaging space.”

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About Fastmarkets RISI

Fastmarkets is the leading price reporting, analytics and events organization for global commodities markets, including the forest products sector, as Fastmarkets RISI. Businesses working in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue, and nonwovens markets use Fastmarkets RISI data and insights to benchmark prices, settle contracts and inform their strategies worldwide. Along with objective price reporting and industry data, Fastmarkets RISI provides forecasts, analysis, conferences and consulting services to stakeholders throughout the forest products supply chain.

About Fastmarkets

Fastmarkets is the leading price reporting, analytics and events organization for the global metals, mining and forest products markets. Fastmarkets’ core activity in pricing drives transactions in commodities markets around the world and is complemented by news, industry data, analysis, conferences and insight services. Fastmarkets includes brands such as Fastmarkets MB, Fastmarkets AMM, Fastmarkets RISI and Fastmarkets FOEX (previously known as RISI and FOEX, respectively). Its main offices are in London, New York, Boston, Brussels, Helsinki, São Paulo, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. Fastmarkets is a part of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, a listed company on the London Stock Exchange. Euromoney is a leading international business-to-business information group focused primarily on the global commodities, banking, and asset management markets.

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