Recovered Paper and Pulp World Map 2020: A New Round of Transition in the Global RCP Trade – All Driven by China

Over the past 20 years, China has proven its massive influence on the global recovered paper (RCP) market. Driven by China’s supply/demand imbalances, the RCP market has undergone a gradual transition, from being a rather local product to a global commodity. As a result, global trade in RCP increased by a CAGR of 8.5% between 2000 and 2012. Exports to China accounted for about half of trade volumes.

Report summary

Between 2012 and 2019, changes in China’s RCP import policies initiated a new round of transition. This resulted in a gradual decline in global trade, which accelerated after the introduction of major restrictions in 2016. A redirection of exports away from China to India and Southeast Asia, and the emergence of recycled pulp imports to China also arose from this transition.

“There are currently no grounds for global RCP trade growth. For the main RCP exporters like the US and Europe, China’s import restrictions have implied that much RCP export tonnage will now stay in the regions. This – in combination with marginal RCP supply challenges owing to Covid-19 and the increasing commitments to sustainability globally – continue to challenge players across the paper packaging supply chain to look for new local strategic solutions,” according to Natasha Valeeva – F&A Supply Chains Senior Analyst.