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Papermerchanting in Germany in 2012


Overall Economic background



In 2012, German gross domestic product rose by 0.7%. In other words, economic development slowed markedly, as compared to the previous year. The global economic downturn, the Euro crisis and European debt crises all contributed to a growing economic slowdown, in the course of last year. Export and domestic demand remained the mainstays of the German economy.



Development of the sales market

In 2012, turnover for companies with 50 or more employees fell by 2.4%, with -2.0% for domestic turnover and -4.9% for foreign turnover. With the figures for the German printing industry for 2012 published to date, the further downturn in printed advertising volumes in 2012 and the failure of the major advertising events of 2012 to fulfil expectations, it is difficult to offer positive prospects for 2013.



Development of the procurement market



Once again, raw material costs and energy transport costs have weighed heavily on operating results. The organisation of the energy transition, which could threaten the very existence of the energy-intensive paper manufacturing industry, remains of key importance.


With total sales of 22.6 million tonnes of paper and cardboard in 2012, the German paper manufacturers produced some 0.5% less than in the previous year.


At the start of the year, the price for crude oil was 105 US-$. Following a clear fall of 17% to 87 US-$ midway through the year, the price gradually rose at the end of the year to the level of the start of the year. While the early months of the year saw a slight rise in cellulose prices, from midway through the year, prices (in particular for long-fibre cellulose) fell by almost 9% to 780 US$. The fourth quarter of 2012 saw practically no further price movement.



Paper wholesale trade

The sales volume of the paper wholesalers organised within the Federal Association (95% of the market) shrank as compared to the previous year, totalling 2.8 million tonnes in 2012. This represents a downturn of 2.7%.

Given the 3.8% growth in coated reel paper, the clear fall of 10.2% as compared to the previous year for uncoated reel paper stood out significantly. At 592,000 tonnes, sales of office paper also demonstrated a 4.7% downturn.


The share of ex-stock volume within the sales total remained practically unaltered as compared to the level in the previous year, at 43%.


In 2012, the earning situation clearly worsened as compared to the previous year. Based on overcapacity at every point in the value creation chain, heavy competition is still a decisive factor.





For 2013, the Federal Government has calculated economic growth of just 0.4%. During the course of the year, growth is expected to recover gradually. Any growth will be mainly reliant on domestic demand. Given the uncertainty of the world economic background and high energy costs and raw material costs, companies are still reticent in making investments.

On the European market, a trend towards consolidation is set to continue, given the expected further rise in the costs of energy, logistics and cellulose. Above all markets in the emerging economies are demonstrating growth. Rising private consumption as a result of improved standards of living, and above all the advance of globalisation with rising export levels and the corresponding demand for paper-based transport packaging are the main causes. The ever more widespread replacement of printed media by the Internet is however expected in the long term to cause the sector to achieve below average growth in comparison to global GDP.



facts & figures