Unbleached fibre market report

Supply, demand, cost and price analysis of the international unbleached fibre market (unbleached kraft pulp and unbleached recycled pulp), with five year projections

What's included in this report?

  • Paper and board statistics - global P&B production and fibre demand by major category
  • Containerboard statistics - historical and forecast containerboard production, by region
  • New investments - planned new containerboard capacity, by region
  • Background to Operation National Sword - and the impact on Chinese fibre balance
  • Consequences of National Sword - considering imported fibre and trade balance of paper and board
  • Global UKP and URP shipments -  broken down by region and end use application (ie board, fibre cement, electrical grade, etc). Forecasts to 2025
  • Global capacity of UKP and URP - by company/mill, end use application. Forecasts to 2025
  • Price trends and drivers - data for NBSK, UKP & URP. Forecasts to 2025
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Additional report details


We have recently widened our analysis of the market for unbleached kraft pulp (UKP) to include processed unbleached recycled pulp (URP). 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 count 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.

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
Our unbleached fibre report provides clients with an unbiased appraisal of the rapidly expanding UKP and URP sectors, providing insights as to the challenges and opportunities that exist for stakeholders across the value chain
Oliver Lansdell, Report Lead Author
Hawkins Wright

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