- European pulp buyers squeezed by input costs denominated in euros vs. dollars
- U.S. papermakers overcoming stronger dollar through lower feedstock prices
- Paper companies’ sensitivity to power costs as they belong to energy-intensive industries
- Growing importance of recycling and bioenergy in the paper sector to tackle climate change
Tissue and wrapping enjoy better outlook than printing and writing
The upstream pulp sector has been coping with an uneven demand worldwide. At the same time, global pulp production has leveled off following capacity cutbacks despite Latin America appeared to be more favored. And yet pulp prices appear to be unable to do better than capping at their 2012 level, especially across Europe.
A dwindling demand undermines two subsectors in the downstream sector of paper and paperboard. Growing digitalization has been a thorn in the side of printing and writing papers and newsprint. Fortunately, the paper sector can still rely on tissue and wrapping papers, both of which are dependent on household consumption. Asia, which accounts for 45% of total paper and board demand, cashes in on a recovering household consumption. It makes up for sluggish demand from either Western Europe or Latin America. This does not prevent domestic paper companies from proceeding with plant closures when needed.
However, thanks to a surprising resilience of mass retailing and a rising demand for e-commerce packaging, we expect the global gross output of pulp and paper to go up +1.4% in 2017 vs. 2016. The paper’s era has not come to an end yet.