Recovered paper imports into China will likely decrease again next year as the government is expected to reduce the quotas again.
The mood on the British recovered paper market is even worse than the weather in November. The withdrawal of Chinese paper producers, slower demand for new paper in Europe and a lack of alternative sales avenues in other Asian countries are taking their toll.
Lower-quality mixed paper (1.02) or even good-quality material from more remote destinations like Northern Ireland or parts of Scotland had already seen prices fall into negative territory in October. There is sometimes no money left even for good-quality paper in England. Loose material with a high graphic paper content is still commanding peak prices.
The low prices secured on an ex-works basis are often not enough to cover bundling and freight costs, ultimately putting recyclers in loss-making territory. Charges for collecting waste are therefore the order of the day, insiders said. Experts are no longer ruling out the possibility of recovered paper being incinerated or landfilled, even if this would be "disastrous”, one insider feared. Export prices for mixed paper were "erratic", as one insider put it.
Demand for old corrugated containers (1.05) was very quiet everywhere at the moment. British paper manufacturers do not want to fill up their depots to make sure that they are ready for a rise in collection volumes in the months ahead. "Packaging paper manufacturers are cutting prices and reducing how much they will accept,” one expert complained.
Only small amounts were being exported to Continental Europe as markets there are even weaker and prices even lower, several contacts pointed out. Price quotes for exports to Asia varied dramatically, depending on the destination and timing.
This article is an excerpt from EUWID's monthly report on the recovered paper market in the UK.
Find the EUWID Price Watch UK for November 2019 in EUWID Pulp and Paper issue no 47/2019, which will be available to our e-paper and print subscribers as of 19 November 2019.