The global paper industry has thrived in terms of paper production and paper consumption over the last few decades, led by some of the world’s largest paper producing countries and paper consuming markets such as China — the largest paper producer in the world — the US, and Japan. Today, paper and paper products — namely writing paper, printing paper, paperboard and so on — are some of the most common materials in people’s daily lives and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) markets around the world. The rising applications and growing demand for paper for both domestic and commercial usage are expected to drive the global paper market to grow further in 2018.
Paper is mainly made out of wood fibers originating from natural forests or pulpwood plantations. However, over half of today’s paper products are made from recycled fiber and other fiber sources such as agricultural residue. There is still a huge potential for growth in recycled fiber use. The world’s three largest paper producing countries are China, the United States, and Japan. These three countries account for half of the world’s total paper production, which is over 400 million tons a year, while the leading paper importing and exporting countries are Germany and the United States.
The global paper production, referring paper and paperboard, has witnessed a strong growth over the last ten years, driven by the increasing demand for paper products as well as the growth of paper packaging industry around the world. The world’s total paper production jumped from around 382 million tons in 2006 to an estimated 410 million tons in 2017. China remained the world’s largest paper producing country in 2017 with a significant 127.5 million tons, according to the latest statistics from Statista.
Top 10 Largest Paper Producing Countries in the World (2016 production in million metric tons)
1.China — 108.5
2. United States — 71.8
3. Japan — 26.1
4. Germany — 22.6
5. South Korea — 11.5
6. Brazil — 10.3
7. Canada — 10.2
8. Finland — 10.2
9. Sweden — 10.1
10. Indonesia — 9.8
China is once again topping the chart as the largest producer of paper in the world in 2016, it’s 108.5 million tons of paper output accounted for over 26% of the market share in global paper and paperboard production, followed by long-term rivals of the US (71.8 million tons) and Japan (26.1 million tons)
Geographically, Asia-Pacific was the dominating region for paper and paperboard market in 2016, attributed to the fact that China, Japan, and South Korea are some of the world’s largest paper producing countries. Goldstein Research reports that Asia-Pacific region is expected to hold 34% revenue share of global paper and paper packaging market in 2024. Furthermore, Latin America is expected to occupy 6% revenue share of global paper and paper packaging market by the end of 2024, due to huge paper production from Brazil, who produces over 10 million tons of paper every year.
When it comes to paper consumption, China has also remained as the world’s largest paper and paperboard consumer over recent years, using more than 103 million metric tons of paper annually, followed by the US with a consumption of more than 71 million metric tons every year. North America has world’s highest per capita consumption of paper of any region in the world, consuming 221 kilograms of paper per capita, compared to the world average consumption of paper per capita of 57 kilograms per year.
As for the downstream industry, the paper packaging industry is currently the largest consuming segment of the global paper production, which consumes more than half of the global paper production. As a recent market report from Research and Markets suggests that the global paper packaging market was valued at $240.15 billion in 2016 and is estimated to reach $345.31 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 6.24%.Inf the paper packaging market, paperboard is estimated to be the fastest growing market with a forecasted growth rate of 7.5% during the period 2016-2022.
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