China Boosts Imports of Chemical Wood Pulp

August 5, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘China – Chemical Wood Pulp – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2020, China increased its chemical wood pulp imports by +10% y-o-y to 24M tonnes. It was driven by rising demand for paper packaging and tableware amid the pandemic and further stimulated by a sharp fall in import prices last year. Brazil, Indonesia, and Canada are the major suppliers, providing 57% of the total import volume. Bleached sulfate pulp accounted for 95% of total wood pulp imports into China. 

Chemical Wood Pulp Imports into China by Country

Chemical wood pulp imports into China amounted to 24M tonnes in 2020, growing by +10% against the previous year’s figure.  A sharp fall in pulp prices last year also encouraged importers to increase purchases. In value terms, chemical wood pulp imports fell by -9.5% to $12B in 2020 (IndexBox estimates). 

In 2020, Brazil (7.2M tonnes) constituted the largest chemical wood pulp supplier to China, with a 30% share of total imports. Moreover, chemical wood pulp imports from Brazil exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, Indonesia (3.5M tonnes), twofold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Canada (2.9M tonnes), with a 12% share. 

In 2020, the highest increases in terms of chemical wood pulp volume supplied to China were registered in Indonesia (+25.2% y-o-y), Brazil totaled (+14.6% y-o-y) and Russia (+10.2% y-o-y). By contrast, Canada reduced its export volume to China by -3.6% y-o-y. 

In value terms, Brazil ($3.3B) constituted the largest supplier of chemical wood pulp to China, comprising 28% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Canada ($1.6B), with a 14% share of total imports. It was followed by Indonesia, with a 13% share.

The average chemical wood pulp import price stood at $507 per tonne in 2020, falling by -17.8% against the previous year. A drop in demand for chemical wood pulp from printing and writing paper mills became the main reason for the price reduction. 

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the countries with the highest prices were the U.S. ($582 per tonne) and Canada ($569 per tonne), while the prices for the product from Indonesia ($448 per tonne) and Brazil ($467 per tonne) were amongst the lowest. 

Chemical Wood Pulp Imports by Type 

In 2020, bleached sulfate pulp (23M tonnes) was the main type of chemical wood pulp supplied to China, with a 95% share of total imports. Moreover, bleached sulfate pulp exceeded the figures recorded for the second-largest type, unbleached sulfate pulp (1.1M tonnes), more than tenfold. 

In value terms, bleached sulfate pulp ($11.4B) constituted the largest type of chemical wood pulp supplied to China, comprising 95% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by unbleached sulfate pulp ($560M), with a 4.7% share of total imports. 

Source: IndexBox Platform


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