ANZ paper imports plummeted in Covid year

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Imports of printing and communication papers into Australia dropped by 27.7 per cent in the 12 months to June, and by 23.4 per cent in New Zealand, but they did start to recover at the end of the year.

Closed: Zanders paper manufacturing mill
Falling: volume of printing paper coming into ANZ

According to industry bible Pulp and Paper Edge total paper imports were 303.5 kt, with what the analyst described as a “dramatic” one-year decline equating to Australia’s imports dropping by 116.6 kt.

However in June imports increased 6.1 per cent on the month prior, to total 30.6 kt. And an increase in March was the first significant increase since the onset of the pandemic. Monthly volumes since then have varied, but remained within the same range.

June 2021 was 21.4 per cent higher when compared to June 2020, when the country was experiencing the first peak of Covid restrictions. An ongoing flattening out of monthly volumes is anticipated over the coming months.

Total imports were up 1 per cent over the quarter ending June, compared with the same period in the previous year.

Imports of Uncoated Mechanical suffered a 65.7 per cent collapse over the year, Light Weight Coated Mechanical was down by half at 52.9 per cent less, Coated Woodfree was down by 20 per cent and Medium Weight Coated Mechanical down by a similar 19.1 per cent.

The situation in New Zealand is similar to the Australian experience, but the declines in imports are softer, mainly because New Zealand has no domestic manufacturing. March’s imports also jumped rapidly, but since then shipments returned to more typical volumes, with June 2021 imports up half a per cent on the prior month, to total 6.7 kt.

Total Kiwi imports were down 6.7 per cent over the quarter ending June, compared with the same period in 2019-20. Total imports were down 23.4 per cent over the year-ended June.

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