Imports of paperboard and paper products to Australia from China fell dramatically in March, down 47.5% on the previous month, to their lowest monthly level in three years. Paper product imports from China were valued at AU$40.4 million for the month of March. This has been followed by a slight recovery in April to AU$56.8 million. The abrupt fall in March came as a surprise to various industry commentators and paper market participants.
Respected Pulp & Paper (P&P) market commentator Mr Tim Woods from IndustryEdge said, “Although it is uncertain, industry intelligence suggests that as much as China is changing, so too is the Australian paper and paper products economy. If there is change underway, it seems to be focused on conversion and value-adding, with a supply chain integration flavour to it.”
Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Mr Ross Hampton said, “This recent dramatic month-on-month decline in paper product import value in March, from a key trading nation like China, makes interesting reading. The Australian P&P industry is now looking to see if this is a trend that continues in the coming months. An intersection of market factors – including: exchange rate fluctuations; Australian demand changes; increased Australian production from existing and new capacity; China demand changes; and high stock inventories – all seemed to play a part in this outcome. AFPA is excited and positive about investment and changes in the Australian P&P sector with increased confidence in the future.”
AFPA continues to monitor P&P trade and market trends, and advocate for industry on key issues such as energy policy (including renewable heat and energy); new domestic fibre supply; recycling and recovered paper; antidumping system reform; trade agreement negotiations; climate change policy; government procurement; bio-products; and certification to name a few.
Australia’s imports of paperboard and paper products from China: Jan’12 – Mar’16 (AUDM & AUD/CNY)