Outcome of recovered paper auction in Italy suggests ongoing high price level

Domestic RCP consumption rises significantly to 6 million t in 2021


Recovered prices in Italy have reached record levels recently, which is also reflected in the outcome of Comieco's latest recovered paper auction. The market has been structurally changing in the past years, with new capacities for recycled containerboard coming on stream, boosting domestic demand. Last year, in particular, has seen a clear shift in deliveries, with recovered paper consumption increasing to 6 million t and exports to Asia dropping significantly.

The most recent recovered paper auction held by Italian consortium Comieco on 30 May ended once again with very high prices. For mixed paper (1.02) in particular, a new record was reached. Volumes from household collections, which according to Comieco correspond to this grade, were sold at prices of between €153.20/t all the way up to €214.94/t. The average price was around €193/t, nearly €10 higher than at the last auction in late March.

Bids seen for volumes from commercial collections, which correspond to the grades supermarket paper and board (1.04) or old corrugated containers (OCC; 1.05), were also very high. To secure this material, auction buyers were willing to spend between €180.11 and €230.99/t. The average price here was €209/t, just a few euros higher than at the previous auction in March.

On the free market, recovered paper prices have not (yet) reached these heights. In May, buyers were paying between €195 and €210/t for old corrugated containers and up to €185/t for mixed paper. At the end of May, however, peak prices for mixed paper seemed to be edging even higher.

Auction winners secure recovered paper until September

The volumes auctioned off at the event are supplied to the buyers monthly for the next three months – from July to September. The Comieco auctions are a popular way for paper mills to secure guaranteed volumes for the coming months. This is particularly true for mixed paper, which is scarce on the free market. As such, buyers are sometimes prepared to make larger financial compromises than they are in negotiations with their suppliers and to dig deeper into their pockets....

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