Between Europe’s paper industry ramping back up after a seasonal dip in August and some renewed interest from export brokers, recovered fibre shippers in the EU are encouraged by the level of demand in the market.
Finding enough fibre to fill orders remains the biggest challenge according to many recyclers in Europe and North America.
In Europe, nonseasonally adjusted production figures for August help demonstrate the extent of the slowdown in the industrial sector during the summer. France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain all reported industrial production index figures in August 2013 that are 15 points or more lower compared with the February 2013 figures.
Industrial production in Italy showed a remarkable seasonal change, falling from a 92.4 Eurostat index number in February 2013 to 58.5 for August 2013. French industrial production also showed a notable summer decline, falling from 99.9 to 71.7 in August.
The end of the summer season has been welcomed by recovered fibre brokers in Europe, who say they are seeing increased demand from buyers but they’ll need packing plants to rev back up to fill some of the orders.
Recovered fibre trade figures for the EU gathered by Eurostat show a declining trend throughout the first half of 2013, even before the dog days of August had set in.
Of the first six months, January saw the greatest volume of material traded internationally in the EU, with more than 3 million tonnes traded that month, according to Eurostat.
In the subsequent months of 2013, that figure has yet to reach 3 million tonnes again and had fallen below 2.7 million tonnes by June. In previous years, trade figures have generally improved in the fourth quarter, and some recyclers express confidence that 2013 will fall into the same pattern.
The European Commission has been working on a plan that it says it believes will help increase the collection of recovered fibre and other recyclable materials within the European Union.
The EU’s High Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials has released a Strategic Implementation Plan with steps to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy and to make Europe a leader in raw materials exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020.