World Dissolving Pulp Demand Recovers to 1990 Pre-Crisis Levels

March 2, 2011 - World dissolving pulp demand reached its peak in 1975 at 5.3 million tonnes. It decreased over the next three decades, with a dramatic decline in the early 1990s due to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, according to RISI.

Demand for dissolving pulp reached its lowest point in 2000 at 3.2 million tonnes, but has increased dramatically over the last decade, RISI said.

Last year, demand for dissolving pulp again reached its pre-crisis level from 1990 of 4.5 million tonnes. Whether this turnaround in demand and price of world dissolving pulp is set to continue, is the subject of RISI's new study Outlook for Global Dissolving Pulp Market.

The main end uses of dissolving pulp are:

  • Viscose fiber or rayon used in clothing
  • Acetate tow and fibers used in cigarette filters
  • Ethers and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) used in pharmaceuticals and as a food additive
  • Nitrocellulose used in paints and explosives

The big turnaround in dissolving pulp demand has been led by the viscose fiber market where the popularity of rayon, mainly for garment production, has been boosted by limited supplies and surging prices of cotton. China, where dissolving pulp consumption for garment production has tripled over the past ten years, accounts for all demand growth in the past decade, RISI said.

Such strong demand and high prices have attracted pulp producers in the Southern hemisphere to start new dissolving pulp lines, while in the Northern hemisphere paper grade mills are converting to dissolving pulp, RISI added.

"We're looking at getting a 10% addition to capacity in just one year -- an indication of how excited people are getting about this market," said Rod Young, Chief Economic Advisor to RISI, and author of the study. "A big concern is that capacity keeps growing rapidly and we get into an overcapacity situation."

The Outlook for Global Dissolving Pulp Market provides a detailed global analysis of the dissolving pulp market spanning fifteen years, with historical data for the past ten years and a five-year forecast. The study covers demand, trade and supply on an annual basis from 2000-2015 for all of the major countries that produce and consume dissolving pulp.