Import pressure in the Western European cartonboard market

By Orifjon Abidov Mon, Mar 01, 2010

Like all paper and board markets, the Western European cartonboard market was characterized by plummeting demand throughout last year. However, it appears that import pressure, measured by import share in total cartonboard demand in Western Europe, reached a historical peak of about 16% (compared to an average of 11% over the last five years) during the second quarter of 2009 and started to decline from the third quarter.

Looking at the breakdown by major Western European cartonboard grade, it appears that the import pressure essentially increased in the folding boxboard (FBB) and white-lined chipboard (WLC) markets. The market share of these grades in 2009 in the Western European domestic cartonboard market was 25% and 44%, respectively. Last year, in both markets imports volumes continued to increase in the face of declining demand, leading to a sharp increase in import share in each market.

On the recycled side, Western European imports come first from Eastern Europe, then from North America (clay-coated recycled board) and Asia. These three regions make up all the Western European imports of recycled cartonboard. On the FBB front, the lion's share of Western European imports come from Eastern Europe, followed by Latin America and finally from Asia (ivory board). Except North America, all other regions substantially increased their exports to Western Europe. In total, imports in terms of tonnage in each of these two cartonboard markets increased by an average of 25% last year relative to 2008 levels.

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