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US RCP Market Stays Firm On Rising Demand & Price
2021-12-19 13:00chinapaperonline.com
For a decade prior to 2017, China was the main buyer of US recovered paper. This was especially true in OCC as Chinese orders became the barometer of the market. The ban from imports by the Chinese government thereafter made some market analysts feel that US RCP market would undergo a period of instability. However, it turns out that the US RCP market has quickly completed the change into the new environment and is now in active performance with growing exports to such countries as India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam as well as strong domestic demand.

Data from the US Census Bureau showed that US RCP exports to the above countries surged 243% in the past four years and shipment in the first ten months of 2021 reached 6.22 million/tons! Among the grades, OCC rose most strongly by growing 319% to nearly 4.15 million/tons in the 10-month period! Clearly, the significant increase was driven by Chinese consumers who would either process US OCC in their mills or buy from local mills in these countries and ship recycled pulp to China. Such efforts include Shanying Paper who launched a 400,000/mtpy recycled pulp line in Thailand in May this year. At the same time, paper and board mills in USA increased their consumption of RCP. Beginning from January 2021, US domestic consumption of OCC exceeded 2 million/tons per month. And consumption in October reached a historical high of 2.1 million/tons! In concern of unsteady supply, many US containerboard mills took to more OCC stocks. According to AF&PA, OCC stocks at US domestic mills went beyond 477,000/tons in October, growing 18% year-on-year.

The increase in exports and domestic demand continues to push up U.S. RCP prices. Though dipping about US$20/ton for both export and domestic sales in December, prices still gained by an average of 68.27% over the same period the previous year. While regular OCC rose 23.65%, DLK spiraled 57.13% to top at US$150/ton! It is expected that the US RCP market will remain active under strong export and domestic demand and price may move up further in 2022.

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