IWPP’s managing director Chris Burton gives his opinion on the current fibre market
European buyers have not been interested in buying much material so far this year. But as we are now firmly in spring, we are starting to see some green shoots of interest in UK material.
Will this grow into full orders? We’ll have to wait and see, but there are definite signs of more demand.
While they are saying they have plenty of finished product, they also seem to want to position themselves in the market. But orders are not coming through in great volume at these price levels.
This growing interest is partly being helped by the high PRN/PERN prices we have seen in recent weeks, although a reduction in price seen around the time of writing may also have an impact. But there must be a need to buy after being quiet for so long.
In recent weeks, Far East buyers have been dominant in the market, and I can’t see a situation this year where Europe becomes the main buyer like it was last year.
For the time being, it would appear that deep sea will be the driver of the market as we have seen typically over the last few years.
It has been a common theme in the market that arisings seem down in 2023, and there is certainly a great deal of truth in that. But it is also the case that there are a number of new entrants in the market that are looking to grow market share and are seeking out fibre from weaker overall availability.
As we enter the spring/summer season and more people are spending time outdoors, it will be interesting if we start to see more fibre on the market as people consume. But then of course, we are still suffering from a cost-of-living crisis.
Compared to historic levels, prices remain high, but they have been creeping down in recent weeks.
There will be a lot to consider in the coming days, weeks and months for those of us working in a market with so much that can affect orders and price.