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Structural change continues in European industry

July 6, 2016  By Cindy Macdonald

In 2015, the European paper industry’s performance in total was second best in the world after China, with a stable production and increased consumption compared to 2014, according to data gathered by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). CEPI members produced 90.9 million tonnes of paper and board in 2015.

The packaging sector’s production continued to increase while graphic paper (newsprint, printing and writing paper) maintained its recent decline.

These and other figures can be found in CEPI’s recently-launched 2015 Key Statistics brochure, which gives a picture of the industry’s performance last year. Here are the main highlights of the report:


·           The production figure of 90.9 million tonnes of paper and board has been relatively stability over the last three years. The operating rate for 2015 was 91.2 per cent, up from 89.7 per cent in 2014.

·           Graphic grades (newsprint, writing and printing paper) represented 38.8 per cent of all paper and board produced in Europe in 2015, packaging grades 49.0 per cent, sanitary and household papers 7.9 per cent and specialty grades 4.3 per cent.

·           The overall output performance of CEPI countries in total was slightly better than in most other major traditional paper producing regions of the world, with a fall in production recorded in all regions except China. Paper and board production decreased in Brazil (-0.5 per cent), South Korea (-0.9 per cent), the United States (-1.0 per cent), Japan (-1.0 per cent) and Canada (-7.4 per cent). Production in China rose by 2.3 per cent compared to 2014.

·           Consumption rose for the second year in a row by 0.5 per cent compared to 2014, totalling 77.4 million tonnes. The economic recovery observed in the EU28 and the euro area in 2015 – annual GDP increase by 2.0 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively (source: Eurostat) – had a positive impact on paper and board demand.

·           CEPI countries maintained an overall positive paper and board trade balance (exports exceeding imports) of 13.5 million tonnes in 2015, compared to 14.0 million tonnes in 2014.

·           Market pulp production fell by 0.7 per cent compared to 2014, with an output of 13.1 million tonnes.

The CEPI statistics report includes data on production, consumption and the trade of pulp, paper and raw materials, as well as on energy and environment. The Key Statistics report is available for download here.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organization regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. CEPI represents some 515 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe with 780 paper mills.

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