News from RISI – China’s paper and board (P&B) production and consumption declined in 2013 after years of rapid growth.
The latest statistics from the China Paper Association (CPA), released earlier this month, showed that the country’s P&B output in 2013 dipped about 1.37% year-on-year to 101.1 million tonnes, and consumption decreased by 2.65% to 97.82 million tonnes.
Growth rates in 2012 were 3.22% and 3.04% for the two indexes respectively.
The 2013 dips were spread out across most P&B grades.
Newsprint production shrank to 3.6 million tonnes in 2013, compared with 3.8 million tonnes over 2012.
Consumption of the grade dropped to 3.62 million tonnes from 3.93 million tonnes.
On the coated fine paper (CFP) side, a total of 6.85 million tonnes were produced in 2013, down 1.44% from 6.95 million tonnes in 2012.
The grade’s consumption moved down, from 5.81 million tonnes to 5.77 million tonnes.
It was the first time that the CFP sector had recorded negative growth, and the shrinkage made the oversupply of the grade all the more noticeable.
For uncoated fine paper, output last year totalled 17.20 million tonnes, 300,000 tonnes less than in 2012.
Some 16.27 million tonnes were consumed in 2013 against 16.84 million tonnes over 2012.
Declines were also found in the board sector. Cartonboard output throughout the country totalled 13.6 million tpy in 2013, sliding 2.16%.
Some 13.1 million tpy were used, down 5%.
Tissue growth slowing down
Tissue is one of the few grades that saw growth in 2013, but that growth was slower than previously.
Production increased by 1.92% year-on-year to 7.95 million tonnes in 2013, and consumption inched up by only 0.41% from 7.31 million tonnes to 7.34 million tonnes.
Growth rates were 6.85% and 17.74% for output and 8.46% and 18.87% for consumption in 2012 and 2011.
The sector is also confronting a serious overcapacity issue.
The China National Household Paper Industry Association (CNHPIA) stated that the operating rate of tissue PMs in 2013 was around 80%, and selling prices of tissue products generally dropped by RMB 300/tonne ($48.6/tonne) in the country.
CNHPIA Vice Secretary General Zhang Yulan has recently said that the Chinese market can only handle new capacity of around 500,000tpy to 600,000tpy each year, and in view of that too many new PMs are coming online.
To cope with the oversupply pressure, producers have slowed the pace of new PM startups.
According to the CNHPIA’s statistics, a total of 1.35 million tpy of tissue capacity were scheduled to start production in 2013, but actually PMs with a combined of 801,500tpy of new capacity came online.
Major tissue makers are continuing to push back startups of new PMs.
Hengan International ordered eight 60,000tpy tissue units in 2012.
The first pair was originally planned to come on stream by 2013, followed by others in 2014 and 2015.
However, the firm now plans to start only the first pair in the second half of this year.
APP China has also revised its tissue expansion plan in the country.
Some 696,000 tpy of new capacity will come online by 2015, a great reduction from the previous plan of 1.82 million tpy.