China Market Situation Report On Paper and Plastics

11th January 2017

WRAP’s series of Market Situation Reports provide in-depth information on the latest economic, market and regulatory trends affecting the capture and recycling of key recovered materials.

Key points:
China remains the key trading partner of recovered paper and plastics for the UK
Prices of recovered paper and plastics have mostly recovered since the 2008 downturn, and many prices currently stand close to the peaks they reached in early to mid 2008

Overview

Overview

Welcome to the China market situation report update, part of our series of reports that examine current economic conditions in the markets for recovered materials.

We published our first China market situation report in spring 2009. This update looks at the key developments in the Chinese markets for recovered paper and plastic since that report was published, including trends in demand, prices and the balance between imported and domestically recovered material.

In addition, the Special Focus explores the wide array of end uses for recovered plastics in China.

The main themes to emerge are:

  • China remains the key trading partner of recovered paper and plastics for the UK;
  • UK exports of recovered paper and plastic to China recovered quickly after the market disruption in late 2008. More recently, however, trends have diverged with exports of recovered paper to China falling while those of recovered plastics have continued to increase. The latter broadly mirror the trends in overall Chinese imports, with a significant decline in Chinese imports of recovered paper in 2010 contrasting with fast growth in Chinese imports of recovered plastics
  • Prices of recovered paper and plastics have mostly recovered since the 2008 downturn, and many prices currently stand close to the peaks they reached in early to mid 2008
  • China’s economy seems poised for a soft landing. The economy is forecast to keep on growing at a solid, albeit slower, pace in the medium term;
  • Accordingly, Chinese demand for recovered materials is also expected to continue to grow
  • However, growth in Chinese demand for imported recovered materials may be somewhat slower than in recent years as its own collection and recycling systems develop.

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Related

Related

To find articles and information related to this report, please use the links below:

Plastics >>
Textiles >>
China >>
Paper >>
Glass >>
Organics >>

China as a UK trading partner

China maintains its position as the single largest destination for UK exports of recovered plastics and paper. In the last ten years, China’s share of UK exports of recovered paper has risen from less than 10% to reach a high of 62% in 2009 before declining slightly to 61% in 2010.

The predominance of China as an end-market is even more marked for recovered plastics. In the last ten years, China’s share of UK exports of recovered plastics has increased from less than 60% to reach 88% in both 2009 and in 2010.

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China as a UK trading partner >>

The Chinese economy

Over the past three decades, Chinese economic growth has averaged around 10% a year. This has fuelled strong demand for raw materials, including recovered paper and plastics, to feed into a fast growing manufacturing sector.

Following the global economic slowdown, China appears to have achieved a soft landing, with inflation rather than economic growth the chief immediate policy concern. China now seems poised to be entering a phase of slightly slower (albeit still high by global standards) and more domestically-driven economic growth.

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The Chinese economy >>

Paper recycling in China

The China Paper Association reports that there has been further growth in 2010. On some measures, China has now overtaken the United States to become the world’s largest producer of paper and board.

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Paper recycling in China >>
Volumes >>
Prices >>
Looking ahead at Chinese recovered paper demand >>

Plastics recycling in China

Since the previous edition of this report, growth in Chinese demand for recovered plastics has moderated as a consequence of the global economic slowdown. Whereas demand for recovered plastics is estimated to have grown from 4 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes between 2000 and 2007, or around 21% per annum on average, demand grew at a more modest 8% per annum on average between 2007 and 2009, to just over 17.5 million tonnes.

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Plastics recycling in China >>
Volumes >>
Prices >>
Looking ahead at Chinese recovered plastics demand >>

Where next?

Want to know more about recovered materials markets? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>