In the background of increasingly uncertain global markets, European production of paper and board demonstrated resilience in 2016. This not only continues the trend of recent years but exceeds the performance of other key paper-producing regions including the United States and Canada.
European consumption of paper and board has exhibited a rise for the third consecutive year, growing by 0.3% in 2016, driven by stronger demand for certain categories of paper products particularly sustainable packaging, hygiene and speciality papers. The rise in consumption has also had a knock-on effect on imports into Cepi countries which rose by 4.5% in 2016 (7.2% of total European paper consumption). Despite this trend and increased competition globally the industry remains a net exporter, exporting approximately 21% of its production.
On another positive note a 2.7% increase was witnessed in pulp production putting a halt to recent years of decline. This was buoyed by an increase (17.8%) in the export of market pulp to non-CEPI countries, particularly Asia (20.8% increase).
Utilisation of paper for recycling has remained relatively stable as in previous years exhibiting a slight increase in 2016. The collection of paper for recycling has also moved in the right direction, displaying a modest increase of 1.0%. At the same time, exports of paper for recycling have increased by 5.6% the majority of which reached Asian markets (91.7%).