Envelope and envelope paper manufacturers have seen a marked rise in demand on the German market in the final quarter of 2013 / beginning of 2014 thanks to the SingleEuro Payment Area (SEPA) transition. The development has come as a much-needed relief, at least in the short term. Last year deliveries of the domestic envelope industry plummeted by nearly 10%.
Demand for envelope and shipping bag paper recovered as expected in the fourth quarter of 2013. Envelope paper manufacturers have reported their order backlogs being back at "satisfactory levels" of 2-3 weeks, after a slow business development in the third quarter. The industry benefited from the EU-wide introduction of the harmonised SEPA payment system as the large number of written notifications and announcements from banks, financial institutions, tax offices and associations created additional demand.
As regards prices, SEPA-driven demand upswing failed to make an impact. Quite to the contrary: prices of recycled envelope paper stayed stable compared to the previous quarter, while 80 g white woodfree envelope paper have seen a 2-3% price drop in the fourth quarter. Prices for shipping bag paper grades VKP 3 and VP 4 remained largely unchanged in the fourth quarter.