Recovered Paper and Pulp World Map 2020: Pressure in an Era of Slower Demand Growth

The main pulp trade flows, as presented in Rabobank’s fiber map, are occurring from west to east, with the Americas supplying Asia and parts of Europe.

Report summary

China has proved essential to global pulp demand growth over the past twenty years, with the rest of the world combined stagnant over the same period, as growth in other emerging markets has been largely offset by declines in developed economies. Southern hemisphere hardwood pulp producers continue to gain competitiveness in a rather weak market environment due to large, new, more cost-efficient mills and weaker currencies. Meanwhile, North America has lost capacity in both bleached hardwood kraft and bleached softwood kraft over the past two decades, with higher costs leading to conversions and closures of mills.

“The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated some consumer trends that are very relevant to the global pulp market and will help shape pulp consumption in the coming years. However, slower demand growth is likely, with big changes in consumer markets,” according to Andrés Padilla – F&A Supply Chains, Beverages, and Dairy Senior Analyst.

An era of slower demand growth following the pandemic, together with new supply additions in cost-efficient countries, signals further pain for high-cost producers in the northern hemisphere.