Recovered paper price surge continues amid shortage in Germany

Recovered paper availability has fallen across Europe
due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
19.05.2020 − 

The price surge continues on the German recovered paper market. After a very considerable bump in April, prices of the ordinary grades saw an even sharper uptick in May. According to a few market participants, the turbulence caused by the coronavirus outbreak has pushed prices more than €100 per tonne higher since March in some cases. The increase for supermarket corrugated paper and board was reportedly larger than for mixed paper. Used corrugated kraft also became significantly more expensive.

This represents a complete turnaround from the situation just a few months ago: Back in February, the market was drowning in recovered paper, large waste management companies were charging fees to handle paper from household collections, and recovered paper prices were sometimes slipping into negative territory.

However, since March, the closure of many stores and industrial operations has caused a steep drop in arisings from these sources. Market players said volumes could be down by as much as 30 per cent, depending on the region.

The only slight relief came from a temporary uptick in supermarket volumes as consumers cleared the shelves in a wave of panic-buying. Volumes from local-authority collections have been relatively stable, as these collections have largely continued throughout the crisis, with a few exceptions.

Supply even tighter due to lack of imports

Moreover, because Germany is a net importer of recovered paper, the market is also feeling the effects of the oftentimes more challenging situations in other European countries. In many countries, separate collections and sorting of recovered paper were scaled back considerably due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Large volumes of recovered paper were thus incinerated or sent to landfill.

As a result, imports to Germany, which had previously been very significant, had more or less slowed to a trickle. At the same time, paper mills in Italy, France and Austria have recently upped their efforts to source recovered paper in Germany. This may have driven prices on the German market even higher, market participants speculate.

The full report on the recovered paper market in Germany will appear in the next print and e-paper issue of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management (11/2020) out on 27 May.

Online subscribers can access the report immediately here: Recovered Paper Germany

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