Indian imports of UK recovered paper were the highest ever recorded in January 2020, according to the latest HMRC export data.
Over 90,000 tonnes of OCC and 71,000 tonnes of mixed paper left the UK in the first month of the year (more on this below).
When looked at as a whole, January proved to be a decent month for the UK with the low but rising prices at the time helping to keep material moving.
In each paper-based commodity code, exports were up with OCC in particular improving on December 2019.
OCC – Commodity code 470710
Exports of OCC totalled 204,068 tonnes in January, up from December’s 184,436 tonnes. it was the first time since January 2019 that more than 200,000 tonnes had been exported, although it was down on the 249,126 tonnes exported then.
As mentioned above, India was the key buyer with a record 91,396 tonnes, up from 50,925 tonnes in December.
But to put this into context, despite being a record month for Indian imports from the UK, it was only around half of what we typically used to see go to China in its heyday.
Turkey continued to be a very strong destination, but at 21,141 tonnes, this was significantly lower than 69,334 tonnes seen in December.
Additional quota helped China buy more in January taking 16,551 tonnes. However, with 3.1 million tonnes of quota issued at that point, it appears the UK wasn’t a strong beneficiary of this.
A strong showing was seen by Malaysia in January with 15,524 tonnes, up from 5,406 tonnes a month earlier.
Indonesia wasn’t far behind. Paying some of the highest prices in the market at the time helped it to attract 14,461 tonnes up from just 1,437 tonnes in December.
There was another strong showing from Thailand with it purchasing 11,003 tonnes up from 10,301 tonnes in the last month of 2019.
Europe as a whole was down though to 5,916 tonnes from 8,309 tonnes in December. While the transition tonnage to the Netherlands was down to 1,720 tonnes from 4,795 tonnes a month earlier, France was up to 1,402 tonnes from just 274 tonnes in December. Germany fell to 1,381 tonnes from 2,123 tonnes the month before.
OCC key destinations (47071000)
Mixed paper – Commodity code 470790
Exports of mixed paper were up just a little in January to 117,913 tonnes from 115,185 tonnes in December.
India was by far the biggest buyer of this tonnage taking 71,749 tonnes, although this was down from 78,816 tonnes in December.
Next best was the EU as a whole taking 18,108 tonnes, an increase on 15,449 tonnes in December.
Netherlands imports fell to 6,634 tonnes in January compared to 7,696 tonnes in December though.
Germany bought more material with 5,758 tonnes going there in the first month of the year compared to 4,840 tonnes in December.
France also took a larger amount with 4,574 tonnes in January up from 2,302 tonnes a month earlier.
After European countries, Thailand’s 8,781 tonnes was next best and represented an increase on 2,877 tonne the month before.
Indonesia also increased purchases with 4,502 tonnes up from December’s 1,138 tonnes.
Malaysia wasn’t too far behind with 4,073 tonnes, up from 4,676 tonnes in December.
Mixed paper key destinations (47079010)
News & Pams – Commodity code 470730
This grade saw an increase in exports in January totalling 30,367 tonnes up from 25,969 the month before.
India took half of this with 15,301 tonnes up from 9,665 tonnes in December.
Indonesia was next strongest with 5,317 tonnes after importing none in December.
This was followed by the EU which took a total of 3,297 tonnes, down from 10,203 tonnes in the Christmas period.
China was a touch behind this with 3,224 tonnes, up from December’s 570 tonnes.
Thailand’s imports from the UK were down to 2,525 tonnes from 3,360 tonnes in December.
OCC historic data – all destinations
Mixed paper historic data – all destinations
N&P historic data – all destinations