Global market pulp demand has nearly doubled over the past decade, driven by a strong appetite for paper packaging. Now the market is entering choppier waters. Pulp prices are more volatile than ever, sometimes matching the volatility of highly traded commodities such as copper and iron ore.
China accounts for about a third of that global demand, making it the largest consumer of pulp in the world. The China pulp market is crucial to watch no matter where you are. Pulp trade has exploded. Trade on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) is more than 20 times that of the physical market.
Broken up into two key grades, hardwood pulp and softwood pulp are the source material for countless end-use products. Hardwood tree species like eucalyptus have short fibers which are useful for soft products such as tissue or other useful materials such as hardwood kraft. Softwood pulp increases absorbency and is used in products such as paper towels, diapers and more.
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