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Mrs. Marlén Sandvik
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Papermerchanting in Denmark in 2012


Economic situation



Decline in 2012, slow recovery in 2013

The Danish economy remains weak and experienced a drop of 0,5 percent of GDP in 2012. Consumer confidence and consumer spending are still low. Exports declined throughout the last two quarters of 2012, significantly contributing to the negative growth rate in the Danish economy in 2012.


Despite lingering international uncertainties - especially in the Eurozone - the Danish Chamber of Commerce expects a gradual recovery with a slow - but at least positive - GDP growth of 0,4 percent in 2013 followed by 1,3 percent in 2014. Unemployment is expected to remain at 162.000 persons in 2013 and decline marginally to the level of 160.000 persons in 2014 as the economy slowly gathers momentum.


Although the housing market has stabilized - and is expected to move slowly in the right direction during 2013 - many families are still faced with a need to consolidate their finances. Meanwhile there remains to be uncertainties in the labour market. Perceived uncertainties about job security - in the private as well as the public sector - keeps affecting consumer psychology. Consequently private consumption is expected to contribute only slightly to the economic growth in 2013, and then pick up in 2014.


Export was the single growth engine in Danish economy in 2011. But in 2012 import growth exceeded export growth, thus net export contributed negatively to the GDP-growth. The same is expected to be the case in 2013. Never the less, it should be emphasized, that it´s not entirely bad news, that imports exceed exports.


Denmark has for many years experienced a period of historical surpluses in the external trade balance and in the current account. Exports are back on pre-crisis level, which is not the case for imports. As a consequence, a few years with import growth exceeding export growth should primarily be interpreted as a sign of the domestic market gaining a little bit of momentum.




Paper merchants' market



In 2012 the number of paper merchants remained 3 with employees totaling 176 persons (2011= 215 ! ) With focus on costs and due to the challenging market conditions all three players have made severe reductions in staff and changes in their operation including outsourcing the warehousing, distribution and also relocation. This process continues during 2013. The members cover 90%+ of "merchant" business. (As a non-member Arctic Paper is the largest player with supplies from Sweden and Poland.) The outlook is bleak and bankruptcies among printers have a severe impact on earnings. Further, the Danish Government recently proposed a new tax on advertising material distributed to households. The tax was adopted as part of the budget for 2012, but will only take effect from 2013.The new advertising tax is, to all appearances, a tax by weight: i.e. the publisher pays a fixed amount - e.g. 3 Danish crowns - per kilo of advertising material distributed to households. The tax which, under the proposal, will be imposed on advertising material distributed to households such as flyers from supermarkets and chain stores, is intended to raise around half a billion Danish crowns to be used for environmental support measures. It is still uncertain how negatively the announced tax will impact the paper market and merchant business - most of the mentioned advertising material is printed in heat set and gravure.