Copy paper more than two-thirds NZ total uncoated market

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In 2020-21, for the first time, uncoated woodfree Cut Reams accounted for more than two-thirds of the total UCWF market. Coming in at 67.4% of the total, New Zealand’s copy paper supplies joined Australia’s which have been persistently at the two-thirds mark for the last three years.

In a rapidly falling market for all Printing & Communication papers, the gradual growth in the role of copy paper is evidence of their resilience and their broader range of potential applications than the other UCWF grades, and indeed, the other grades of Printing & Communication papers.

Based on long-run data extracted from the soon to be released Pulp & Paper Strategic Review, the chart and table here show Australian and New Zealand total supplies of Cut Reams and the proportion of the total UCWF market they held in each year.


New Zealand and Australia: UCWF Cut Ream Apparent Consumption: 2011 – 2021 (kt & %)

Source: ABS, derived, Statistics NZ and IndustryEdge


While the Australian and New Zealand proportions were similar in the last year – and have been previously – the smaller New Zealand market has charted a more variable path when it comes to the proportion of the market held by Cut Reams.

Keeping the focus on New Zealand – where all Uncoated Woodfree grades are imported – the second chart shows imports have been in free-fall over the last two years in particular. Though it is plain to see that the resilient grade is Cut Reams, it is relevant to examine the extent of that resilience. In 2020-21, Cut Ream imports fell 10.0%, while the other major grade (40-150 gsm) saw imports fall 27.0%. This is evident in the two charts that follow.


New Zealand Imports of UCWF Papers by Main Grade: 2011 – 2021 (ktpa)

Source: Statistics NZ and IndustryEdge


New Zealand Imports of UCWF Papers by Main Grade: 2011 – 2021 (%)

Source: Statistics NZ and IndustryEdge


Addressing the specific trade in Cut Reams, there are essentially two significant suppliers in the market – Australia and China. Other countries play solid supporting roles, but they do come and go from the market, unlike the major supplier nations, whose presence has been consistent for the better part of two decades, and longer in the case of Australia.

Importantly, subscribers seeking to understand the very detailed trade in individual grades of Cut Reams (as diverse as Copy Paper on the one hand to coloured A3 grade on the other) can interrogate the specific Australian and New Zealand trade data.


New Zealand Imports of Cut Reams by Country: 2011 – 2021 (ktpa)


Analysis provides two further points of reference about the importance of this data.

First, in New Zealand in 2020-21, UCWF grades in total accounted for a record 49% of the total Printing & Communication paper market, and in turn, that means Cut Reams accounted for 33% of total Printing & Communication paper demand for the year. That is a record proportion, up 15.0% on the prior year and an average 3.3% per annum over the decade.

Second, as this final chart shows, regional integration is strong and continues to strengthen. In 2020-21, Australia supplied 41% of New Zealand’s Cut Reams. That too was a record, up 24.7% on the prior year and growing an average 2.4% per annum over the decade.

New Zealand Imports of Cut Reams by Country: 2011 – 2021 (%)

Source: Statistics NZ and IndustryEdge


New Zealand provides an intriguing microcosm for analysis. When it comes to Printing & Communication papers, it allows us to understand that the ubiquitous copy paper is likely to be the last grade standing, and underscores the importance of the integrated trans-Tasman market for the health and prosperity of the entire industry.

This is an edited extract from an item that first appeared in the September 2021 edition of Pulp & Paper Edge (Edition 195).

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