Recyclers and paper manufacturers have tentatively entered 2014 with some optimism that the global economy will improve incrementally throughout the year.
Smurfit Kappa Group, one of Europe’s largest containerboard makers, has expressed modest confidence regarding 2014.
“The group’s European corrugated packaging operations showed good growth in 2013, with box volumes up 2% year-on-year,” a Smurfit Kappa Group press release from mid-February stated.
Sweden-based tissue maker SCA Group says its “consolidated net sales for 2013, excluding exchange rate effects and divestments, rose 10% compared with a year ago.” The increase is largely attributed to acquisitions and higher volumes.
Recovered fibre brokers are reporting that overseas trading volumes picked up in late 2013. In his report for the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) World Mirror, Ranjit Baxi of London-based J&H Sales International Ltd. writes, “Export volumes increased during the quarter both to China and India while other Asian countries have also started to increase their fibre procurement. At the same time, we are continuing to see increasing signs of export volumes out of the U.S. outpacing those from Europe.”
Baxi also says quality of fibre and prices are continuing to take centre stage, and that demand for mixed paper “fluctuated” during the final quarter of 2013.
Positive momentum in the EU or the Eurozone area continues to move slowly. Eurostat reported in early 2014 that GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28 nations during the fourth quarter of 2013. That is up slightly from the previous quarter, when GDP grew by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.3% in EU28 nations.