Defining the Specialty Cellulose Market

Supply, demand, and price analysis of the specialty cellulose market, with five year projections.

Chapter 1: Defining the Global Fibre Market

  • An overview of global fibre demand by grade (waste paper, virgin paper grade pulp, fluff pulp, dissolving pulp and cotton linter pulp).
  • World chemical cellulose shipments by grade (DWP &CLP) and end-use market (VSF, lyocell, textile filament, cellophane, acetate, ether, MCC, technical paper, nitrocellulose, casings, tire cord and sponges).

Chapter 2: Defining the Specialty Cellulose Market 

  • Historical shipments of specialty cellulose by furnish (DWP & CLP) and grade (acetate, ether, MCC, technical paper, nitrocellulose, casings, tire cord and sponges).
  • Regional focus. A breakdown of deliveries by grade and destination: North America, Europe, Latin America, Japan, China, Other Asia.

Chapter 3: Specialty Cellulose Shipments Forecast by Grade and Region

  • A discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing each grade of specialty cellulose.
  • Shipments forecast for each grade, by region. 

Chapter 4: Specialty Cellulose Supply

  • An overview of the supply base, by mill and by grade. Five-year forecasts.

Chapter 5: Specialty Cellulose Price forecast

  • An overview of prices by grade.
  • Price forecast for ether and acetate grades, as an index. Five-year forecasts.
specialty cellulose by end use 2022

Additional report details

The specialty cellulose market is opaque. Supply is concentrated among just a handful of suppliers, whilst demand is highly fragmented across multiple sectors. Unlike the paper grade pulp industry, there are no formal association statistics that quantify shipments. This has created a wide range of opinion about the size of the market, and contrasting representations about the historical and future evolution of shipments.

This ambiguity has prompted us to conduct our own in-depth appraisal of the sector, with the aim of mapping shipments by grade and by destination. These estimates have been derived from multiple sources including discussions with industry contacts, information published in company reports, and from global trade statistics.

The results show a market that has struggled to grow in recent years, as a secular decline in acetate grade shipments has offset much of the growth derived amongst the other grades. With the emergence of low-cost specialty cellulose capacity in the market, these conditions have given buyers considerable pricing power over the past 10 years, and ultimately pressured prices back to the marginal cost level.

In our view, this era of structural oversupply is coming to an end. On the supply side, capacity growth in future years will be limited and restricted to a few higher cost commodity grade mills swinging to speciality grade production. Their success is far from guaranteed, whilst some existing supply is vulnerable to closure owing to an aging assets base and increasingly constrained fibre supply.

Meanwhile demand growth looks to accelerate, as specialty cellulose benefits from the growing popularity of bio-based material across multiple end-use markets. Leading the growth will be cellulose ethers and MCC, underpinned by the positive long-term trends in the pharma and construction industries, especially in Asia. Additional support should be forthcoming from both new and re-emerging markets for cellulose acetate, which are starting to generate enough demand to offset much of the consumption decline associated with falling rates of tow production for the cigarette industry.

Our goal is to update this report every two years, using feedback from industry participants to improve the accuracy of our data, and ultimately allow for a more transparent understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the sector.

Why choose Hawkins Wright?

We provide strategic, forecasting, marketing intelligence and business information services to the international forest products and bioenergy industries 

  • Independant and unbiased - we do not manufacture, trade or broker and forest products so are able to offer wholly-unbiased opinion
  • Decades of experience - With a sector knowledge base since 1982
  • Industry dialogue - we regularly talk to a global network of industry figures
  • Personal approach - much more than providing market data, we can adapt to your changing needs, offering calls and face-to-face meetings
This report delivers comprehensive and expert analysis of the specialty chemical cellulose market. Covering all the major grades, it maps supply and demand by region and describes the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
Oliver Lansdell, Report Lead Author
Hawkins Wright

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