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Global paper and paperboard growth forecast at 1.1%


March 18, 2015
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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World demand for paper and paperboard is forecast to grow to 482 million tons in 2030, but North America will experience shrinking demand, according to Pöyry Management Consulting. This equals an overall increase of 1.1% per year, with…

World demand for paper and paperboard is forecast to grow to 482 million tons in 2030, but North America will experience shrinking demand, according to Pöyry Management Consulting. This equals an overall increase of 1.1% per year, with variations by grade. These are the conclusions of a global paper market study “World Paper Markets up to 2030” conducted by Pöyry.

The management group also predicts a strong need for structural changes in the paper industry. “Especially in Western Europe we find an urgent need for further capacity reductions. After the markets in the emerging Asian regions have become more mature, the industry needs to take a more disciplined approach as to capacity expansions. Industry consolidation, acquisitions, mergers and alliances start making more sense there, too,” says Timo Suhonen from Pöyry Management Consulting.

The Pöyry study forecasts the demand for more than 80 countries and country groups, and ten product areas, including graphic, tissue and packaging papers.

Demand for paper varies depending on type and region. The graphic paper market is facing huge challenges in particular, while increasing digitalization is shrinking demand for newsprint and other printing papers, as well as uncoated and coated wood-containing and wood-free papers.

According to the Pöyry study, the demand for tissue paper, containerboards and cartonboards will, however, grow during the period. This is driven by increasing packaging needs in emerging markets, booming e-commerce and the growing demand for convenience food and consumer goods brands. The annual consumption of packaging material and tissue/hygiene products is expected to rise by up to 2.9%.

Focusing on regional growth markets, it can be found that the demand for paper continues to grow in the emerging markets, such as China and India. This is due to the increasing population, urbanization and the development of a new middle class. In Japan, North America and Western Europe, on the other hand, the demand will decrease by around 0.8% per year to 2030.

“Since 1950 the production of paper has continually grown. But the last five to six years were extremely challenging for the global paper industry, in particular for companies in Western markets,” says Timo Suhonen from Pöyry Management Consulting.

“In the past, exits from the graphic paper industry sometimes turned to entries into the packaging paper and paperboard sector through a conversion of the machines. However, this move would probably be the least painful one for multi-sector companies and always has to be decided on a case-by-case basis,” Suhonen concludes.