The Outlook for Unbleached Fibre Demand, Supply and Prices is a paid-for multi-client service which provides subscribers with an in-depth report analysing the global market for unbleached fibre.
We have recently widened our analysis of the market for unbleached kraft pulp to include processed recycled pulp. This new grade of fibre has emerged since 2018, as China has phased out all imports of solid waste under the National Sword program. Imports of RCF have fallen by 25Mt over four years, creating a major fibre deficit for Chinese board mills.
At the same time, demand for packaging materials globally has performed very strongly through the covid-recession, supported by an acceleration in online retail, a shift on the part of governments and consumers towards renewable packaging solutions, and a general rise in living standards and consumerism in developing countries. We have listed over 26Mt of new board capacity which is currently under construction in North America (4.1Mt), Latin America (1.1Mt), EMEA (6.3Mt), China (9.8Mt), and other Asia (4.5Mt).
Although the investment appears excessive, particularly in China, the growth in capacity is creating new market demand growth for unbleached fibres, both UKP and URP. At the same time, niche grades of UKP (i.e. fibre cement, electrical and filtration grades) continue to show positive trends, albeit from a low base.