European consumption of paper and board has exhibited a rise for the third consecutive year, growing by 0.3% in 2016, driven by stronger demand for certain categories of paper products particularly sustainable packaging, hygiene and speciality papers. The rise in consumption has also had a knock-on effect on imports into CEPI countries which rose by 4.5% in 2016 (7.2% of total European paper consumption). Despite this trend and increased competition globally the industry remains a net exporter, exporting approximately 21% of its production.
On another positive note a 2.7% increase was witnessed in pulp production putting a halt to recent years of decline. This was buoyed by an increase (17.8%) in the export of market pulp to non-CEPI countries, particularly Asia (20.8% increase).
Utilisation of paper for recycling has remained relatively stable as in previous years exhibiting a slight increase in 2016. The collection of paper for recycling has also moved in the right direction, displaying a modest increase of 1.0%. At the same time, exports of paper for recycling have increased by 5.6% the majority of which reached Asian markets (91.7%).