VIETNAM – A 15% increase in paper exports in the first half of 2013 over the same period last year helped buoy Vietnam’s paper industry amidst sharp drops in domestic consumption, according to the Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association (VPPA).
Newsprint demand fell 29% while tissue paper demand dropped 18% year-on-year between January and June 2013, said VPPA, due to “current economic difficulties”.
However paper packaging demand remained positive at 1.1% growth, while writing paper demand increased 6.3%.
Overall, domestic sales volume for all paper products decreased 3% in the first half of 2013 over the same period last year, reaching nearly 1.4 million tons.
Vietnam’s paper exports though were strong, up 15% over H1 2012 to hit 67,800 tons due to stable shipment orders. Taiwan was the largest importer of Vietnamese paper products with total import volume of 42,800 tons.
VPPA predicts a “very tough year” for the domestic pulp and paper industry this year: “Local factories have failed to run at full capacity while production costs are rising, seeing industry players struggling with price hikes and shrinking profit margins.”
Yet all is not gloomy for the industry. Local media recently reported that Kraft Vina Paper Co Ltd – a joint venture between Thailand’s SCG Paper and Japan’s Rengo Co Ltd - has raised its production capacity by 12%.
In addition Chanh Duong Paper Company has installed new equipment with annual capacity of 350,000 tons, while Phu Giang Paper and Packaging Co Ltd has also put into operation a new machine with a designed capacity of 20,000 tons annually.