“Demand for OCC grades has been rather low all over the world, although in Asia it seems to be particularly weak,” says Francisco Donoso, President, BIR Paper Division. “Fewer goods exports from China and other Asian countries to Europe and the USA mean that packaging production is declining and therefore demand and prices for OCC are weaker.”
He continues, “Last year brought big price drops in Asian OCC imports and the situation has not improved in 2023, with only small changes up and down. The market in Europe, however, is becoming a little brighter, with higher demand for bulk grades and price increases since March of up to €25 per tonne in southern Europe. Expectations of three million tonnes of additional production capacity could be the reason behind these latest increases.
“Also in the USA, prices have improved during recent weeks after steep drops during the previous couple of months. New capacities amounting to nearly two million tonnes have been announced for 2023. Stocks are quite low across all regions, at the paper mills as well as in collectors’ yards, because of low collection volumes in line with the reduction in global demand.”
He concludes, “For white grades and pulp substitutes, demand is even worse than for OCC. Pulp prices have fallen sharply and therefore the white grades have also seen price reductions during recent months. The tissue market is not at all strong and therefore demand for raw materials is really low. Deinking grades have also sustained price reductions over recent months in Europe and the USA; stock levels are low but demand is even worse.”