A surge in newsprint exports to India pushed Australian exports of paper and paperboard to a new record of 1.211 million tons in the last financial year, according to the 2017 edition of the Pulp & Paper Strategic Review from IndustryEdge. The increase in total exports was more than 65,000 tons, amounting to a 5.7% increase. Packaging and industrial papers – especially Kraftliner and corrugating liners used to manufacture corrugated boxes – have long been the mainstay of Australia’s substantial exports of paper and paperboard but this past year saw exports in newsprint double.
“A large number of countries receive Australia’s high quality, sustainable volumes of packaging materials, with new market opportunities opening up every year, as Australia’s box paper makes its way around the world,” says Tim Woods, MD of IndustryEdge. “Despite the breadth of countries to which deliveries are made, for strategic reasons, supplies to the USA dominate.
“However, in the 2016-17 financial year, the main contributor to export growth was not the packaging and industrial grades, it was newsprint, exports of which more than doubled compared with the prior year, totalling more than 150,000 tonnes. The majority of shipments were to India.”
Regardless of growth in exports and strong production volumes and local market shares, fully converted corrugated packaging imports also rose to a new record of more than 41,000 tonnes in 2016-17. The rise from the prior year was almost 18%. “The corrugated packaging market in Australia is becoming ever more complex, and perhaps, increasingly diversified on the supply side,” says Woods.
New Zealand’s total consumption of packaging and industrial papers rose above 400,000 tons for the first time, rising 4.5% on the prior year. “IndustryEdge’s analysis of data and estimates of specific production lead us to conclude that production rose, allowing exports to increase, while imports were almost the same as the prior year,” according to Woods. “As with Australia, exports from New Zealand’s Packaging & Industrial paper sector remain solid, but have weakened in recent years, more because of modest reductions in production than anything else.”
These matters and others are covered in detail in the 26th annual edition of the Pulp & Paper Strategic Review.