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U.S. Recovered Fiber Exports Soared 5% in 2018

The full-year 2018 export figures published by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests modest increase in exports of recovered paper by the country.

The exports by the U.S. companies totaled nearly 21.0 million short tons, higher by nearly 5% when compared with the exports of 20.1 million in 2017. The exports grew despite huge decline in fiber imports by China. The decline in exports to China was offset by significant growth in exports to other destinations including India, Indonesia and South Korea.

By grade, mixed paper exports witnessed heavy decline during the year. The trade figures indicate that mixed paper exports dropped from 3.9 million short tons in 2017 to 2.9 million short tons during the previous year. The Census Bureau noted that the exports in 2018 were the lowest since 2002. The decline was mainly driven by China, whose imports declined from 2 million short tons in 2017 to 113,000 short tons in 2018.

On the other hand, old corrugated containers (OCC) exports surged higher by nearly 27% over the previous year. The OCC exports totaled 12.5 million short tons in 2018, notably higher upon comparison with the exports of 9.9 million short tons in 2017. The OCC exports touched new record in 2018, Census Bureau noted.

China continued to be the largest export destination of U.S. recovered paper. The exports to that country totaled 8.3 million short tons, accounting for almost 40% of all U.S. exports. The other key importers along with import volumes in million short tons are as follows: India (3.7), Mexico (1.8), Indonesia (1.3) and South Korea (1.2).

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