Domestic paper demand falls 4.4%

Paper demand fell by 4.4 per cent in Australia last year compared to the previous year, with newspaper demand plummeting by 12.9 per cent, and commercial print down by 3.9 per cent.

Imports fell by 8.8 per cent, while exports rose by 5.7 per cent according to a report from market research firm Industry Edge. In volume terms, the decline was 143,000 tonnes.

Local production rose 2 per cent from 2016 to record levels, driven by an increase in exports and packaging and industrial grades.

Total Australian production rose to a new record of 3,185,00 tonnes, with the aggregate rise of 65,000 tonnes delivered entirely by 1.4 per cent growth in Packaging & Industrial paper production.

Detailed analysis, included in the 350+ pages of the 2017 Pulp & Paper Strategic Review covers demand for each of these sectors, as well as production and trade in both Australia and New Zealand.

Offsetting these declines, to some extent, were rising tissue imports, up 3.9 per cent, and an 0.8 per cent increase in Packaging & Industrial paper imports. Industry Edge says the big trade news for the year was the massive decline in imports of copy paper.

Brazil, China, Indonesia and Thailand were determined to have subsidised copy paper exports into Australia by the Anti-Dumping Commission.

The paper’s authors say stable growth in Tissue demand was joined by the stability of the Packaging & Industrial paper market – especially corrugated boxes – to limit the fall in demand.

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