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Germany

The fourth quarter brought no major surprises for the German recovered paper industry as demand from the mills did not improve, with no “Christmas business” as in previous years. What is not produced does not come back and so the collection rate has remained lower than in recent years.

Imports of recovered paper, mainly kraft and the medium-to-higher grades, stagnated at a moderate level. Exports remained unchanged until December but then declined owing to increased freight costs as ships to the Far East had to take the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope owing to the crisis in the Red Sea.

Towards the end of the quarter, paper and board manufacturers announced longer shutdowns; some machines were stopped before Christmas and only put back into operation around two weeks later.

All these factors ultimately led to an enforced price reduction on the lower grades despite resistance from sellers, whereas medium grades could be sold in some cases on better terms than in previous months.

Discussions about recovered paper prices also arose in the context of the additional CO2 surcharge on the truck toll applying on federal roads and highways. Since December, this has imposed a new supply chain burden that none of the parties involved - collectors, sellers, traders, transporters or processing industries - wants to take on board.