In 2015, the European paper industry’s performance in total was second best in the world after China, with a stable production and increased consumption compared to 2014. The packaging sector’s production continued to increase whilst graphic paper (newsprint, printing and writing paper) maintained its recent decline.
Consumption rose for the second year in a row by 0.5% compared to 2014, totalling 77.4 million tonnes. The economic recovery observed in the EU28 and the euro area in 2015 - annual GDP increase by 2.0% and 1.7% respectively (source: Eurostat) - had a positive impact on paper and board demand.
In 2015 CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) members produced 90.9 million tonnes of paper and board, which represents a limited decrease of 0.2% (-147,000 tonnes) over 2014 and a relative stability over the last three years. The peak production of 102.1 million tonnes was recorded in 2007.
Graphic grades (newsprint, writing and printing paper) represented 38.8% of all paper and board produced in Europe in 2015, packaging grades 49.0%, sanitary and household papers 7.9% and speciality grades 4.3%.
CEPI countries maintained an overall positive paper and board trade balance (exports exceeding imports) of 13.5 million tonnes in 2015, compared to 14.0 million tonnes in 2014.
Market pulp production fell by 0.7% compared to 2014, with an output of 13.1 million tonnes.
The overall output performance of the CEPI countries in total during 2015 was slightly better than in most the other major traditional paper-producing regions of the world, with a fall in production being recorded by all except China. Paper and board production decreased in Brazil (-0.5%), South Korea (-0.9%), the USA (-1.0%), Japan (-1.0%) and Canada (-7.4%). Production in China rose by 2.3% compared to 2014.