Graphic papers, those found in a broad array of products from newspapers to catalogues, account for roughly 40% of all paper and board produced in Europe.
This market share represents a structural decline for graphic paper consumption in the continent, due in large part to the continual digitization of information, while demand for grades of paper used in packaging, sanitary and household products continues to grow.
The European Association of Graphic Paper Producers, a non-profit organization that represents the industry sectors of Europe's newsprint, magazine and fine paper grades, released its June 2015 statistics on the European Graphic Papers Industry. It noted that total shipments of graphic papers in June, including newsprint, SC-magazine, Coated and Uncoated Mechanical Reels, Coated and Uncoated Woodfree grades, were 2.912 million tonnes, up by 78,000 tonnes or 2.7% compared to June of 2014. Over the same time period, total European shipments of newsprint were 676,000 tonnes compared to 701,000 tonnes in June of 2014, a decrease of 3.6%.
Total shipments of SC-Magazine paper were 292,000 tonnes compared to 306,000 tonnes in June of 2014, a decrease of 4.7%. Total shipments of Coated Mechanical Reels were down marginally, at 518,000 tonnes compared to 519,000 tonnes in June 2014.
Total shipments of Uncoated Mechanical papers were up to 196,000 tonnes, compared to 175,000 tonnes in June 2014, an increase of 11.8%.
In June, total European shipments of Coated Woodfree papers were 562,000 tonnes compared to 529,000 tonnes in June of 2014, an increase of 6.2%.Total shipments of Uncoated Woodfree papers were 668,000, compared to 604,000 tonnes in June of 2014, an increase of 10.6%.
While the statistics indicate moderate growth in shipments of some grades, the overall decline in graphic papers consumption is expected to continue. This trend is witnessed not only in highly developed countries, but also countries that are rapidly developing, such as China, where growth in graphic paper consumption is increasing only marginally (Voith). It is widely expected that continued and pervasive shrinking of the graphic papers market will continue, and that nearly all investment in new graphic paper machines will cease.