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  • BIR World Mirror on Recovered Paper – Issue January 2023: Legislative setbacks add to testing market conditions
BIR World Mirror on Recovered Paper – Issue January 2023: ... Image 1

BIR World Mirror on Recovered Paper – Issue January 2023: Legislative setbacks add to testing market conditions

  • 01 February 2023

A concise summary of the BIR World Mirror on Recovered Paper – Issue January 2023. Full version with detailed market reports available in the Members Only section of the BIR website.

Subdued demand for finished products has kept the lid on already-low OCC and deinking prices heading into the new year. At the same time, the combination of thinner order books and still-high energy costs has brought increased downtime into the equation for many mills, according to the latest BIR World Mirror publication released by the global recycling organization’s Paper Division.

In terms of fibre prices, Asia has seen a little more volatility than Europe and the USA, with OCC gaining ground in October and November last year before falling back again. On the plus side, white grade and pulp substitute prices have dropped back only slightly from the high ground established many months ago, with demand for these grades fuelled by elevated prices for virgin pulp. Another positive has been the improvement in vessel and container availability/costs.

Freight rates have become more supportive of export flows, with reports of increased business between Europe and, notably, Indonesia, India and China. However, the export picture has been clouded by the January 17 vote in the European Parliament to introduce stricter controls on waste shipments from the EU. If the proposed changes are adopted in their current form, this will mean, for instance, audits of importing paper mills to ensure production standards are equivalent to those in Europe.

Further complicating the export outlook, India’s review of limits on non-paper materials in recovered paper imports will bring further controls in countries of origin and an increase in bureaucracy.

In the North American market, recent weeks have brought generally static prices for the major brown grades such that bulk values are far less than half of what they were a year ago. Most if not all major containerboard and boxboard manufacturers are said to have taken unprecedented levels of downtime in December, leaving high levels of stock sitting in recovered paper yards.

Across into Europe, stock build-up has also been a problem for many in the recovered paper industry. Having said that, there is already evidence that high inflation is prompting the public to exercise greater caution over expenditure and a continuation of this trend is likely to dampen collection volumes to an increasing extent.

According to feedback from Scandinavia, one of the upsides of the energy crisis is that recovered fibre demand from insulation producers has remained healthy as householders respond to higher gas/electricity charges by investing in more efficient ways of keeping heat within their homes.

In Turkey, meanwhile, the paper industry has drastically reduced its capacity utilization in the face of falling demand, prompting a rapid decline in recovered paper sales prices and purchased volumes. This comes at a time when new investments within Turkey’s paper and board industry have put the country on a course to increase its annual production capacity from 5 million tonnes at present to 8 million tonnes over the next four years.

Read all market reports

With contributions from its members, BIR publishes periodical commodity reports under the label "BIR World Mirror". These detailed reports exist for Non-Ferrous MetalsFerrousStainless Steel / AlloysPaperPlastics and Latin America and provide BIR members with up-to-date information on the respective commodity or market segment.
The report on Non-Ferrous Metals appears once every two months, whereas Ferrous, Stainless Steel, Paper and Plastics are published quarterly. Latin America is covered twice per year.