be.png GROPACA c/o FETRA

Pleinlaan 5
tel. +32 2 344 19 62
faxnr. +32 2 344 86 61
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Papermerchanting in Belgium in 2012





The fragile economic upturn seen in Belgium in the first quarter of 2012 did not herald a more sustained recovery. The further cyclical slowdown came against the backdrop of the worsening crisis in the euro area.

The Belgian Gross Domestic Product showed for 2012 a negative growth (-0.2 % / -0,4 % in the euro area).

Regarding the expenditure components of GDP in Belgium, the particularly sluggish domestic demand is striking. The volume of household expenditure has been falling almost continuously quarter after quarter (- 0,7 % in 2012 against + 0,2 % in 2011).


The autumn brought a further deterioration in the economic indicators and above all, mounting pessimism over the outlook for employment, closures or restructuring due to the marked slowdown in activity on the main neighbouring export markets (unemployment rate : 7,4 % in 2012 against 7,2 % in 2011; exportations : 0,7 % in 2012 against 5,5 % in 2011).

The inflation rate reached 2,6 % in 2012.


The political agreement concluded in November 2012 in relation to the federal government budget and the measures to restrain the rise in nominal wages shows the importance given to restoring competitiveness.



The Belgian merchants in paper and cardboard are facing extremely hard times the last years.

For the 4th consecutive year, volumes continue to drop. In 2012 coated paper dropped by 3,22%, uncoated paper by 11,7% and office papers by 6,4%. The current overcapacity is boosting the pressure on the margins.

The drop in printed communication has also far-reaching consequences for the printers, who are actually still the main customers of the merchants.

Several bankruptcies and the application or abuse of the new Belgian Act relating to the Continuity of Enterprises (Chapter 11) already amounted to a loss of more than 10 million euro the last years for the merchants.

In the segment of Office Papers, merchants are continuously losing volumes at the profit of other distribution channels.

As a consequence, the overall result of all merchants got into the red in 2011 and the situation will not be different for 2012. With the prospect of a continuous structural decline of paper consumption in the coming years, the graphical future has never been as challenging as before.



facts & figures