Since 2023, boxboard corrugated paper prices have continued to weaken and show a downturn. The main reason for this is still the sluggish demand side.
Lv Yanshuo, an industry analyst at Zhuo Chuang Information, said in an interview with Securities Daily that in the first quarter of this year, although the start-up rate picked up rapidly after the Spring Festival and the supply of corrugated boxboard was increasing, under the influence of a weak recovery in domestic demand and a slow recovery in export sales, downstream packaging plants had a weak start-up situation and were not active in purchasing raw paper, causing market prices to remain low. Data showed that corrugated paper prices had hit a five-year historical low by the end of March.
At the same time, on January 1, 2023, China implemented "zero tariffs" on many types of paper, including corrugated boxboard, which is another major reason for the decline in packaging paper prices. According to industry insiders, the reduction in tariffs can bring price advantages to imported paper products, so domestic packaging paper companies are also "shutting down and overhauling" and other actions to continue to reduce the price of boxboard corrugated paper, narrowing the price difference with imported paper products and thus seize market share.
"The end of March was an inflection point, and in April, the industry saw a slight rebound for nearly a month." Lv Yanshuo said. This is also considered by most industry analysts is the paper price "bottom stabilization".
Talk about "618" mid-year consumer promotion impact, sun paper related person in charge told "securities daily" reporter, as early as April, the downstream paper packaging industry has begun to actively for "618" big promotion reserve inventory. At that time, after a quarter of continuous decline, upstream paper mills in "shouting up" price, terminal demand in the "618" driven by the recovery of expectations, so then the market trading in the supply and demand game under a better shift, to achieve the industry rebound in April.
In response to the renewed decline in corrugated board prices since May, especially in the near future, the head of Sun Paper said that the situation is slightly different from that of the first quarter. With the recent decline in energy prices such as coal and electricity, the pressure on the cost side of the enterprise has been reduced, "paper enterprises, especially large paper enterprises, have benefited significantly and do not need to use the 'shutdown and maintenance' method as frequently as in the first quarter. Strategy, to further seize market share."
And from the "618" mid-year promotion, the further rebound in consumer demand, will become an important factor in pulling up the demand for packaging paper and other industries.
Hong Yong, an expert from the think tank of China's 50 People's Forum on Digital Integration, said in an interview with the Securities Daily that the "618" mid-year consumer promotion usually drives demand growth in the packaging paper industry, and the peak consumption season in the second half of the year is also the traditional peak period for the packaging paper industry.
"'618' and various festivals and activities in the second half of the year will drive diversified demand in the packaging paper industry, especially in segments such as high-end packaging paper, personalized packaging paper and intelligent packaging paper." Hong Yong said.
Industry accelerates reshuffle integration
In the process of wrapping paper prices continue to go down, the packaging paper industry is also accelerating reshuffle, and there is a trend of concentration to the head enterprises.
Recently, there has been news of small and medium-sized corrugated paper companies closing down in the south of the country. At the same time, the top paper companies, including Nine Dragons Paper and Mountain Eagle International, are actively expanding their production capacity.
According to Zhuo Chuang's forecast, 8 million tons of new boxboard and corrugated paper production capacity will be added from 2023 to 2025, with more capacity added in 2023. According to Zhuo Chuang's statistics, Nine Dragons Paper and Shangying International will add 2.05 million tons and 1 million tons of production capacity, respectively, from 2023 to 2024.
According to an analysis by Deppon Securities, as environmental policies tighten, the "waste ban" raises the threshold for the industry, and the zero tariff policy on imported paper comes into effect, leading domestic corrugated board and paper companies are seizing the time window to quickly put in pulp and paper production capacity at home and abroad to improve their upstream resource control and cost control capabilities, and will further seize market share.
In this regard, Zhang Xinyuan, secretary-general of Co-Found Think Tank, said in an interview with Securities Daily that the increase in industry concentration is the inevitable development result of reshuffling in industries such as packaging paper. "Currently, the packaging paper and other industries have fierce competition and scattered market shares, but some leading enterprises have begun to improve industry concentration by strengthening mergers and acquisitions, resource integration and other ways to further strengthen their competitive advantages and market share." Zhang Xinyuan said that in the future, with the intensification of market competition and the acceleration of industry reshuffling, industry concentration is expected to further improve and concentrate, and the competitive advantages of leading enterprises will be further consolidated and strengthened.
However, in the aforementioned sun paper related person in charge of the opinion, by the head enterprise layout radius and freight costs and other factors, small and medium-sized paper enterprises will still maintain a certain survival space.
Beijing university of industry and commerce professor Hong Tao in an interview with reporters, 2025 China's "plastic ban" will be fully implemented, coupled with 2023 national consumption rapidly active, will promote China's packaging paper industry recombination. "Leading enterprises will play an increasingly large role, and small and medium-sized packaging paper enterprises will also open up the market space for the development of characteristics." Hong Tao said so.
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