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Decline of Paper Production Slows in Europe

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According to a release earlier this month by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), Brussels, Belgium, the production of paper and board in Europe decreased by only 0.2% in 2014 compared with the previous year, following a cumulative decline of 4% between 2010 and 2013. Production is now "established" at 91.1 million metric tons, says CEPI.

The figure was part of CEPI’s 2014 Key Statistics document, released July 6, and designed to give "a clear picture of the industry’s performance." The report includes data about production, consumption, and the trade of pulp, paper, and raw materials, as well as data on energy and the environment.

The 2014 Key Statistics brochure features four pages spotlighting recycling statistics, including several breakdowns of how mills in Europe consumed 47.5 million metric tons of recovered fiber in 2014. Mills in Germany consumed 35% of that total, with the next closest nation being France, with 11.4% of the total.

CEPI said the report "shows an industry in full transformation, with the growth in output in the packaging sector and a more modest increase in hygiene paper production more than balancing out the continuous decline in the output of graphic paper."

Among other highlights of this CEPI report:

Paper and board consumption rose by 0.9% compared with 2013 and totaled 77.1 million metric tons. This increase is particularly important because it comes after three consecutive years of decline. The EU28 and the euro area recovered in 2014, with the annual GDP thought to have increased by respectively 1.3% and 0.8% (according to Eurostat). This was reflected in the demand for paper, says CEPI.

Graphic grades represented 40.5% of all paper and board produced in Europe; packaging grades 47.5%; sanitary and household papers 7.7%; and specialty grades 4.3%.

Paper and board exports to countries outside of CEPI dropped while imports rose, resulting in a slightly negative trade balance impact. However, CEPI countries maintained an overall positive trade balance in paper (exports exceeding imports) of 14.0 million metric tons in 2014 (14.8 million metric tons in 2013).
Market pulp production fell by 1.4% compared with 2013, with an output of 13.2 million metric tons.

More information about the CEPI Key Statistics report, including an assurance statement from Ernst & Young on the data quality, can be found online.

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