Only exports of news and pams were up in February, with OCC and mixed paper both lower, according to the latest HMRC data.
However, the increase for the former was small, while the latter two grades both saw significant falls on the month before.
This was most likely due to the difficulties in acquiring shipping containers at this time due to the Chinese New Year holiday, and of course, the first outbreaks of coronavirus in China.
However, it is also worth recognising that January had actually been a decent month, compared to those few previous to it, although not massively strong historically.
OCC – Commodity code 470710
Exports of OCC from the UK fell by almost exactly 30,000 tonnes in February from January. A total of 174,114 tonnes was sent abroad in February compared to 204,068 tonnes the month before.
One of the main reasons for this was a decline in exports to India from a record 91,396 tonnes in January to 66,829 tonnes a month later. While it represents a substantial drop, it was still the second best month ever.
The next strongest destination was Vietnam with 22,509 tonnes, up slightly on January’s 22,042 tonnes. It is now four months in a row that Vietnam has taken more than 20,000 tonnes and perhaps demonstrates that the country is a key, but understated, destination for OCC.
China’s 16,993 tonnes made it the third best destination, perhaps boosted by the additional quota that was made available by the Government there in late December, early January. This was only a touch up on January’s 16,551 tonnes.
Malaysia was next with 16,412 tonnes, up from 15,524 tonnes in January. This represented a record total for the country after it was also its highest ever the month before.
While down to 15,638 tonnes in February, Turkey remains a major player, albeit down from 21,141 tonnes in January. It was also the lowest total since September.
Pakistan was up to 8,859 tonnes in February up from 5,219 tonnes in January. Is this a sign of a new significant destination on the cards for exporters?
After that the EU as a whole took 5,944 tonnes in February virtually unchanged from 5,916 tonnes a month earlier. With 3,207 tonnes, the Netherlands represented the bulk of this followed by 1,186 tonnes to Germany.
Thailand received 5,870 tonnes of UK OCC in February, down from 11,003 tonnes in January.
OCC key destinations (47071000)
Mixed paper – Commodity code 470790
Exports of mixed paper in February fell below 100,000 tonnes in a month for the first time we started collating these records in 2018.
At 92,509 tonnes, this was a fall from 117,913 tonnes in January.
Like OCC, India took less at 50,060 tonnes, down from 71,749 tonnes in January. This was the lowest monthly total since June 2019 for India.
The EU as a whole was the next best destination with 16,477 tonnes down from 18,108 tonnes in the first month of the year. Germany was the main buyer with 6,151 tonnes, followed by Netherlands with 4,860 tonnes then France with 4,210 tonnes.
Thailand was next strongest with 5,850 tonnes down from 8,781 tonnes in January.
Vietnam took 4,375 tonnes in February up from 1,531 tonnes in February. This was followed by Turkey (3,666 tonnes), China (2,977 tonnes), and Malaysia (2,900 tonnes).
Mixed paper key destinations (47079010)
News & Pams – Commodity code 470730
Exports of news & pams were at their best since October 2019 in February.
A total of 33,287 tonnes left the UK for mills abroad, up from 30,367 tonnes in January.
Like OCC and mixed paper, India was the main destination with 14,673 tonnes down a touch on January’s 15,301 tonnes.
Indonesia was the next best destination with 7,188 tonnes up from January’s 5,317 tonnes.
Overall exports to the EU increased to 6,867 tonnes in February from 3,297 tonnes a month earlier. Spain took most with 2,906 tonnes followed by Germany’s 2,650 tonnes.
OCC historic data – all destinations
Mixed paper historic data – all destinations
N&P historic data – all destinations