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Commodity report: Wood pulp

This report gives some highlights of the developments in wood pulp production, trade and prices in 1951 and indicates what the future looks like at the beginning of 1952. It contains information only on North America and western Europe, but since these regions together at present account for over nine-tenths of the total world production and consumption of wood pulp, this coverage its sufficient to show the main trends.

North America
United States
Outlook for North America
Outlook in Europe
Aerial view of FAO headquarters, Rome

World production of wood pulp in 1950 is estimated at about 32.6 million metric tons, 16 percent greater than in the previous year, but the bulk of the pulp produced is consumed in North America and Europe, and a slight or even considerable improvement of the supply situation in these regions does not necessarily alleviate to any significant extent the shortage in many other parts of the globe. Moreover, there are, even within the most important pulp producing regions, noticeable differences between countries in actual consumption of products. This is illustrated by the following figures from the most recent FAO Yearbook of Forest Products Statistics showing per caput consumption of pulp products, in terms of pulp equivalents, in certain countries during the year 1950:

Kg. per caput

United States










France, Austria and Germany


In Africa, Latin America, the Far East, and notably in New Zealand, several important programs have now been started and projects blueprinted for the increase of pulping capacity. The FAO Expanded Technical Assistance Program is giving impetus to the planning of new undertakings in various countries where adequate, but more or less unexploited resources are available. In fact, FAO was requested at its 1951 Conference to survey the possibilities for increasing the production and transportation facilities of pulpwood, while the Member Governments were urged to take action to increase pulpwood supplies, to consider establishing or encouraging new pulp and paper industries, and to request from FAO, under the Expanded Technical Assistance Program, expert missions to help them in these matters.

It will, however, be some years before most of the projects now started or contemplated begin to show effective results, and in the meantime, untapped resources are being opened up also in North America and Europe. For instance, the exploitation of the huge forests of Alaska and Labrador is on the horizon. There exist in Finland alone possibilities for expanding the capacity of the pulp industry by at least 370,000 tons of chemical pulp per year; in a number of European countries pulp production will be increased by greater utilization of hardwood species and low-grade wood. Sweden already appears to derive one-third of its raw material for pulp manufacture from logging and conversion "waste." The relative importance of fibrous raw materials other than wood, such as straw, bagasse and esparto grass, is also growing in many parts of the world.

Woodpulp and newsprint production trends (1937:100)

The above chart, which its derived from the Yearbook of Forest Products Statistics for 1951, shows the trends in woodpulp and newsprint production in post-war years. Only the situation in the major producing countries is shown.

North America



New capacity was also brought into operation in Canada during 1951. According to the United States Pulp Producers' Association, the total capacity of Canada's pulp industry was supposed to increase from about 8.1 to almost 8.5 million tons.

The results of expansion and modernization were apparent in production figures. The monthly average production for all pulp over nine months of 1951 was 9 percent higher than that for the whole year 1950, and production during this period totalled more than 80 percent of the 1950 figure, indicating that total output in 1951 would probably be in the neighborhood of 8.2 million tons. Increases in the production of chemical pulp were proportionally higher than in the output of mechanical pulp.

The sulphur shortage which prevailed all over the world and was felt more seriously in Canada than in the United States, was eased by allocations made by the International Materials Conference at Washington. Canada's own production of sulphur is growing, but may still not suffice to cover total requirements within the immediate future.


Exports of Canadian wood pulp were greater than ever during the first eight months of 1951. Shipments to the United States were then 15 percent higher than a year before and exports to other destinations, which were at a low level in 1950 and still only represented about one-sixth of total exports, jumped by 230 percent. Both chemical and mechanical pulp exports increased, except for exports of bleached sulphite to the United States which declined very slightly.

It is important to note that the increase over the same period of 1950 of Canada's total pulp exports during January-August 1951 was almost 88 percent in terms of value against about 12 percent in terms of volume. Incidentally, the value of pulpwood exports increased by more than 100 percent.

United States


A large amount of new pulping capacity has been put into operation. According to figures released by the United States Pulp Producers' Association, the total theoretical capacity of the country's pulp industry was to be increased from about 14.7 million tons in 1950 to well over 15.9 million tons in 1951, as a part of the huge program of expansion and modernization already started on a moderate scale in 1946/47 and expected to continue through 1952.

The expansion of industry is being carried out not only in the most important pulp-producing regions in the Lake States and the West but also in the Southern States. In some places there has been a significant rise in the use of hardwoods as a part of the raw material. One interesting feature was the plan to double from 300 to 600 tons daily the capacity of the new dissolving pulp mill at Natchez, Miss., which started operations in 1950 and was the first plant to adopt the newly developed sulphate process using hardwoods in the manufacture of dissolving pulps.

Very little of the increased capacity was planned in mills producing for the market, and therefore it was believed that the requirements of non-integrated paper mills, i. e. those which are dependent on market pulp, were still not being met. Another feature of the expansion carried out so far is that while there are big increases in the sulphate group, the sulphite capacity seems to have remained practically stable.

During the first half of 1951 considerable increases in the production of all grades, with the exception of soda pulp, were registered. Bleached and semi-bleached sulphates, paper grades, were about 27 percent, and dissolving and special alpha pulps about 30 percent above the levels for the first six months of 1950.

Aggregate production of all grades during the first half of 1951 totalled about 7.5 million tons, which was almost 17 percent above the corresponding figure for 1950.

During the latter half of the year consumption showed some decline and by mid-November a slow but steady increase in total stocks held by producing and consuming mills was noticed. The main factor causing this change was an easing on the paper markets in the autumn, a situation which seemed to foreshadow a considerable surplus production of paper. In November and early December output of paper declined somewhat below the theoretical capacity of paper mills, which is actually 10 percent lower than the real capacity. One week before Christmas the production of paper was 96.1 percent of theoretical capacity. The decline in the output of all paperboards was still more noticeable and had started earlier, being in September X6 percent, and in November 82 percent, of theoretical capacity. On the other hand, newsprint production was very high in October, and output for the first ten months of 1951 was 9.1 percent above the corresponding 1950 figure.

Under such conditions output of pulp regressed somewhat from the peak levels reached earlier in the year. Nevertheless, the over-all rate of output was not greatly affected by the relaxation of the markets and, according to early estimates, the United States' total production of pulp in 1951 attained the high figure of around 15 million tons, about 12 percent above the 1950 level.


Imports of wood pulp during the first half of 1951 were somewhat above the levels of a year earlier; Canadian imports had increased by about 14 percent to account for 77 percent of the total. By the end of August total imports had reached about 1.5 million tons, 6 percent higher than a year earlier.

Imports from some European countries were affected by the ceiling prices to which reference is made later. Total receipts of European pulp during the first eight months were 25 percent below the 1950 figure. By that time imports from Sweden had dropped to about 183,000 tons which represented a decline of 34 percent from the previous year, but those from Finland had fallen only slightly and those from Norway had in fact increased. The same development continued during the next two months, and by the beginning of November 1951, total imports from Europe had reached only 385,000 tons compared with 521,000 tons a year earlier. Purchases from Finland and Norway continued at a normal pace.

According to early estimates, total wood pulp imports during the whole year 1951 amounted to about 2.09 million tons, slightly less than the 1950 figure of 2.16 million tons. While imports from Canada showed an increase, those from Europe dropped. Pulp receipts from Sweden decreased by 35 percent compared with 1950, and imports from Finland by 11 percent, whereas imports from Norway slightly increased.

United States pulp exports represent very marginal quantities compared with the volume of production and of imports. In 1950 exports were about 5 percent of the volume of imports for the same year, but during the first half of 1951 total pulp exports were relatively high, over 95,000 tons, and had already exceeded the volume for the whole year 1950. Greatest increases were recorded in exports of unbleached sulphate and unbleached sulphite. Export quotas of unbleached sulphate in the third and fourth quarter of 1951 were fixed at 25,000 short tons each, while the quota for dissolving and special chemical grades was 7,000 short tons in each of the two quarters. Quotas for bleached and unbleached sulphite and bleached and semi-bleached sulphate were 7,000 short tons during the last quarter of the year. If the quotas were fully used, total exports during 1951 ought to have been more than double the 1950 quantities.


After the upward movement in pulp prices all over the world during 1950, wide differences appeared between various markets, and also in prices quoted on one market for pulps originating from various sources. Thus, at the beginning of 1951, there was an unusually large gap between the prices for North American and Scandinavian pulp on the United States market. While domestic bleached sulphite had risen from $118 per short ton, delivered, in the first quarter of 1950 to $135 a year later, i. e. by only 14 percent, Scandinavian unbleached sulphate, for instance, rose during the same period from $82.50 to $162.50 per short ton, on dock, or by 113 percent.

A price freezing order for domestic pulps, was issued towards the end of January 1951. During the subsequent months the disparity between prices for domestic and imported grades became more marked, particularly after Swedish prices were increased in the second quarter. Second quarter contract prices for bleached sulphite, for instance, compared with prices for domestic production were as follows (per air-dry short ton): United States production $135 to $145; Canadian production $160 to $175; Finnish $225, on dock, and Swedish $250 to $290, on dock. At the beginning of July, a price ceiling, with the Finnish price level as basis for imports from Europe, was introduced. Import prices were fixed at $200 for all unbleached cellulose, $225 for bleached sulphite and $230 for bleached sulphate, all per short ton on dock.

In general, prices for Canadian production have been $15 to $25, and more in the case of bleached sulphate, above the prices for domestic pulps. On the other hand, ceiling prices for European pulps have been $50 to $70 higher than prices for Canadian pulps on the United States market. The main reasons for this difference in favor of overseas pulps were, first, considerations of quality and, second, the difficulties anticipated by non-integrated and semi-integrated paper mills, depending completely or partly on market pulp in getting sufficient supplies.

Although the ceiling prices for overseas pulps led to diminished supplies from Sweden, the market pulp situation in fact seemed to remain satisfactory throughout 1951. When the tension that had prevailed earlier in the Year lessened in the autumn, prices also began to show some signs of softening. By mid-November it was uncertain whether all quantities of certain grades of domestic market pulp available at that time could be disposed of at ceiling prices. This was particularly true of some kraft pulp brands. As a consequence, there was again, towards the turn of the year, some speculation about the possibility of a downward adjustment of ceiling prices for European pulps.

Outlook for North America

The capacity of the pulp industry both in the United States and Canada is scheduled to expand further in 1952. Theoretical capacity is supposed to reach roughly 16.8 million tons by the end of the year in the United States and about 8.7 million tons in Canada, making the aggregate capacity in North America by the beginning of 1953 1.1 million tons greater than in 1951. Already there is talk that, in particular, newsprint supplies will soon catch up with effective demand.

However, requirements for defence construction will probably delay release of the materials required for expansion of the industry, and it is believed that the full pace may only be restored during the latter half of 1952.



The strong demand for wood pulp resulted in increased pulpwood fellings in some countries, and in changes in the international movement of pulpwood. Exports of pulpwood from Western Germany dropped to almost zero in 1951, and exports from Poland, Yugoslavia and Sweden were diminishing. On the other hand, exports from Finland during the first six months of 1951, were up by almost one-third over the quantity for the same period of 1950. By the end of August 1951 Finland's exports of pulpwood amounted to 2.14 million cubic meters, as against 1.25 million a year earlier, and for the first eleven months of the year reached 3.28 million cubic meters or about 75 percent more than for the whole of 1950. With the exception of unknown quantities shipped from Eastern European countries to the U.S.S.R. and the increased Finnish exports to the same destination, practically all European pulpwood exports went to countries within the region.

During the first half of 1951, Western Germany, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands increased their pulpwood imports considerably, the first receiving pulpwood from Canada for the first time, while the Swedish supply situation was improved by both increased purchases from Finland and diminished exports. Pulpwood imports from Canada were of significance to the United Kingdom. France also received certain quantities of Canadian pulpwood.

Although imports of pulpwood by European countries had reached about 1,122,000 cubic meters by the end of June 1951, as against about 766,000 cubic meters a year earlier, requirements were still a long way from being met.

The main importing countries were also reported to have stepped up their own pulpwood output, in some cases very successfully. However, the competition for roundwood not only with sawmills but also with pitprop producers was felt very strongly.

Production of wood pulp was, at times, threatened by shortages of electric power, fuel and sulphur, but with the exception of a temporary slowing down or interruption in the output of mechanical pulp due to a drought period in some countries, these shortages did not appear to have very serious effects on the European pulp industry.

Final figures on the production of wood pulp in different European countries during 1951 are scanty at the time of writing. There are, however, indications supporting earlier predictions that the 1950 totals, estimated at about 5.7 million tons of chemical pulp and about 3.3 million tons of mechanical pulp, were reached and possibly exceeded. This achievement would have been due more to the relatively long period during which high prices prevailed, enabling pulp manufacturers to compete effectively on the round timber market, rather than to increases in pulping capacity, of which a part has actually been lying idle in a number of countries during the last few years.

On the whole, the year 1951 was favorable for pulp production in the three northern countries

Finland. Capacity was increased and a plant for the manufacture of semi-chemical pulp came into operation during the year. Output of chemical pulp ran well ahead of the previous year's levels and reached, for the whole year, 1,385,000 tons compared with 1,194,000 tons in 1950. Production of sulphate pulp, which accounted for roughly three-sevenths of the total, rose more than that of sulphite; output represented a postwar record and was only a little below the theoretical capacity of the industry.

Production of mechanical pulp was for some months affected by shortages of water and electricity. Nevertheless the year's total was 807,000 tons as against. 719,000 tons in 1950.

Sweden. Sections of the pulp industry suffered from shortages of fuel and, particularly, timber. The shortage of pulpwood experienced in some areas of the country during the past few years has been overcome by resort to special arrangements. For instance, the province of Norrland, in northern Sweden, has severely felt the lack of roundwood and the pulp mills have not only been forced to ship additional quantities of pulpwood from the southern parts of the country and to import supplies from northern Finland, but also to use pine and spruce timber of both larger and smaller dimensions than has been customary. Moreover, the importance of hardwoods in pulp production has been increasing; it is reported that one of the largest sulphate mills in the Norrland province used birch and aspen for about 40 percent of its 1951 production.

During the first half of 1951 production of chemical pulp in Sweden attained a volume of 1.25 million tons, or 8 percent over the corresponding period of 1950. The figure for the first three-quarters of the year was still 6 percent above 1950 levels, and according to early estimates the production for the whole year 1951 was over 2.5 million tons, thus exceeding the 1950 total of 2.46 million tons.

No final information as to the 1951 production of mechanical wood pulp is yet available. As the industry was not too seriously affected by the summer drought it was expected that output might exceed the 1950 figure of 685,000 tons.

Norway. Supplies here had to be largely augmented by imports from Finland and Sweden, as well as by more extensive use of small-size domestic timber. Mills manufacturing chemical wood pulp ran at about 85 percent of capacity, and recent estimates put the output for the total year at around 520,000 tons, the highest annual figure since 1937, as compared with 483,000 tons in 1950.

The manufacture of mechanical pulp had to cope with shortages of water and electric power during the first half of 1951, but later the situation improved and the leeway was made up. It was anticipated that production for sale would reach the quantity planned for the year, about 365,000 tons dry weight a little more than in 1950.

Germany. The Federal Republic, the biggest producer on the European continent, was in 1951 much better supplied with pulpwood than a year earlier. During the forestry year 1949/50 domestic supplies of pulpwood amounted to 1,674,000 cubic meters, solid measure without bark, and imports to 460,000 cubic meters; the figures for 1950/51 were 2,290,000 and 814,000 cubic meters respectively. Pulpwood requirements, which have increased threefold during the past four years were met in part by maintaining a slight price differential between pulpwood and pitprops, in favor of the former. On the other hand, industrial activity was threatened by a shortage of coal.

The production of chemical pulps in western Germany was running at an average monthly rate of 47,000 tons during January-October 1951, which v as 13 percent higher than the monthly average for the whole year 1950. Output of wood pulp for the manufacture of paper was 8 percent above the ten-month period of 1950, while the production of dissolving pulps, corresponding to slightly more than one-fourth of total pulp output, increased by about 33 percent. The proportion of pulp made from straw was 6.6 percent of total pulp production. According to early estimates total production of chemical pulp in the Federal Republic of Germany was over 560,000 tons for the total year 1951, as against 469,000 tons in 1950.

France. The Monnet Plan of 1946 for the extension of industry provided for the development of pulping capacity from 485,000 tons in 1947 to 746,000 tons by 1951. Due to financial difficulties and the fact that consumption of paper and paperboards did not increase at the pace anticipated, the program has only partially been carried out. The total capacity of the country's pulp industry was in 1950 about 540,000 tons and in 1951, 619,000 tons, including 245,000 tons of mechanical pulp and about 76,000 tons of stray, pulps. The manufacture of pulp from hardwoods, which was negligible in 1948, was estimated for 1951 at a capacity of 41,000 tons. During the year the capacity for pulping of hardwood was expected to increase by 23,000 tons and the capacity for the use of straw by 41,000 tons.

Pulpwood was a major source of concern in 1951, since supplies from the forests in the French occupied zone in Germany had come to an end and the extra quantities of pulpwood resulting from the forest fires of 1950 had been used. Imports from Finland and North America were stepped up, and during the first half of the year exceeded the corresponding 1950 imports by almost one-third. Nevertheless, it was estimated that towards the end of 1951 there was a deficit of about 420,000 steres or roughly 315,000 cubic meters of coniferous pulpwood, only a part of which could be covered by the available poplar pulpwood, estimated at 200,000 steres.

It was expected that the production of mechanical pulp and of chemical grades made from conifers would show no substantial increase in 1951, but a considerable rise in the manufacture of pulps made from hardwoods and straw was anticipated. During the first eight months of 1951 total pulp production was about 18 percent above the corresponding period in 1950; output of mechanical pulp was then 15 percent ahead of the January-August 1950 figure. At the time of writing, no information is available as to whether the high 1950 output of all pulp, 566,000 tons, was exceeded. It had been feared that the shortage of sulphur would seriously affect the output of sulphite pulp.

Austria. The industry's capacity in 1950 was about 100,000 tons of mechanical pulp and around 280,000 tons of chemical pulp. Production figures for that year, over 93,000 tons and 250,000 tons respectively, came close to the theoretical capacity level. The year 1951 brought difficulties from the increasing prices of pulpwood. During the first five months of the year, production of mechanical pulp was about 42,000 tons as against 36,000 tons a year earlier, and production of chemical pulp 109,000 tons as against 100,000 tons in 1950, giving an overall increase of about 11 percent.

Italy. A little more chemical pulp than mechanical pulp was produced, and in 1950 total production consisted of 128,000 tons of mechanical and 138,000 tons of chemical pulp. In 1951, Italy was able to increase pulpwood imports, particularly from Finland, and during the first half of the year these amounted to over 197,000 cubic meters, as against 156,000 cubic meters a year earlier. Consequently the pulp industry operated at a higher rate than a year before. During the first eight months of 1951, production of mechanical pulp was running 13 percent, chemical pulps for the manufacture of paper 46 percent, and the output of textile pulps - which account for a little less than one-third of all chemical pulp - 22 percent above the levels for the corresponding period of 1950. Output of semi-chemical pulp, representing only about 3 percent of total pulp production, was 36 percent over the January-August 1950 level.


While it is still not possible to get a clear picture of the development of European pulp trade in 1951, it seems possible that the 1950 export volumes were exceeded.

Sweden. According to early estimates, exports of chemical pulp were 1.71 million tons, compared with 1.81 million tons the previous year. The decrease was largest in unbleached sulphite and unbleached sulphate (totalling 908,000 tons as against 1,008,000 tons in 1950), while increases in the exports of dissolving pulp and bleached sulphate were balanced by the drop in exports of other bleached sulphate. On the other hand, exports of mechanical pulp showed an increase from 283,000 tons in 1950 to 297,000 tons in 1951.

Equalization duties on exported pulp were introduced at the beginning of the year, and were later raised substantially. Export shipments were accelerated before the higher equalization duties and the United States ceiling prices for European pulp came into effect on 1 July. Thus, in June 319,000 tons of pulp were exported, 50,000 tons going to the United States, as compared with 195,000 and 21,000 tons respectively in June 1950. During the latter half of the year, activity slackened; although shipments to the United States did not completely stop, they were considerably reduced. For the January-October period, the 168,000 tons shipped to the U.S.A. accounted for almost 12 percent of the total exports of chemical pulps.

The United Kingdom was the biggest single customer for Swedish pulp, and during the ten months period took about 151,000 tons of mechanical, over 327,000 tons of chemical pulps, corresponding to 61 and 23 percent of Sweden's total exports, respectively. Figures for the whole year 1950 were 180,000 and 420,000 tons. The amounts exported to some Latin American countries during January-October were also significant; over 64,000 tons of chemical pulp went to Brazil and about 47,000 tons of chemical and 17,000 tons of mechanical pulp to Argentina. There was also a noticeable increase in exports of chemical pulp to Japan.

The reduction in Swedish exports to the United States during the latter half of the year (in the third quarter of 1951, shipments were only 30,000 tons as against 70,000 tons a year earlier) seemed likely to result in increased imports to European markets. On the other hand, owing to the position of the balance of trade with Argentina, the Swedish authorities refused after the end of April to issue new licenses for export of wood pulp to that country, and there was a standstill in sales until a scheme for equalizing the costs of exports and imports was adopted in mid-December.

Finland. Wood pulp exports in 1951 exceeded those for the previous year; the total quantities were 982,000 tons of chemical pulp, compared to 886,000 tons in 1950, and 210,000 tons of mechanical pulp as against 177,000 tons a year earlier.

No definite information on the distribution of 1951 Finnish exports is available at the time of writing. According to British import statistics, the quantity of Finnish mechanical pulp arriving in the United Kingdom during the first ten months of 1951 was 37 percent higher than a year earlier, and only a little below the 1950 total of 103,000 tons. Imports of chemical pulp were 24 percent higher than a year before and similarly, at 300,000 tons, very close to the whole 1950 figure of 322,000 tons. Shipments of Finnish wood pulp to the United States were not affected by the introduction of ceiling prices, and exports of chemical pulp were expected to reach around 175,000 tons for the year, as against about 170,000 tons in 1950.

Norway. Pulp exports during the first half of 1951 appeared to be at a slightly lower level than a year before. By the end of June, chemical pulp exports stood at 122,000 tons and mechanical pulp at 150,000 tons, as compared with 123,000 and 157,000 tons respectively during the same period in 1950.

Germany. (Federal Republic). During the first six months of 1951 shipments of all pulps were over 49,000 tons, against 26,000 tons a year before. The trend continued later in the year, and for January-October the monthly export average was 5,500 tons, compared to 4,700 tons in 1950.

Austria. Exports of chemical pulp in the first half of 1951 were about 52,000 tons, slightly less than in 1950.


European pulp imports during the first six months of 1951 appear to have been larger than a year earlier, notwithstanding the fact that receipts by Germany and Italy decreased. Later in the year imports to Germany increased considerably.

United Kingdom. The largest single importer in Europe, the U. K. considerably increased imports of all grades of pulp. Totals for the period January-November 1951 show imports of chemical pulp at about 922,000 tons, as against about 784,000 tons during the same months of 1950 (948,000 tons for the whole year); for the same period imports of mechanical pulp were over 462,000 tons, as against about 416,000 tons a year earlier and 506,000 tons for the whole of 1950. The bulk of 1951 imports of chemical pulp came, as before, from Sweden and Finland. While in 1950 arrivals from Sweden were considerably higher than those from Finland, last year the position was reversed. Imports from Canada rose from about 72,000 tons for 11 months of 1950 to roughly 125,000 tons for 1951: only minor quantities of chemical pulp came from the United States.

Norway again was the biggest single supplier of mechanical pulp to the United Kingdom but the quantity of wet groundwood imported in January-November 1951, almost 165,000 tons, was somewhat smaller than imports from that source a year earlier. Imports from both Sweden and Finland increased, and arrivals of wet mechanical pulp from Canada, although of minor importance in terms of absolute volume, were, with about 35,000 tons, more than four times larger than in 1950.

Italy. There was a marked decrease in imports of both chemical and mechanical pulp in 1951. During the first half of the year imports of chemical pulp were about 74,000 tons, less than a quarter of those a year before, and imports of mechanical pulp and dropped from about 25,000 tons to 9,000 tons. During the first three-quarters of the year imports of mechanical pulp were 58 percent of the 1950 level, although receipts of paper pulp were very close to the previous year's figure and imports of rayon pulp were increasing. Preliminary estimates for January-October 1951 showed a 15 percent decrease in imports of all paper pulp, both mechanical and chemical, and a 43 percent increase in receipts of textile pulps.

France. Imports of chemical and mechanical pulps increased considerably during the first half of 1951. As a contrast, pulp imports into Germany decreased slightly. They increased later in the year, and imports of paper cellulose during the first ten months, 167,000 tons, were already close to total imports of the same grades during the whole of the year 1950.


During the early part of 1951 the rising trend in pulp prices continued; and extremely high prices for "spot lots" of Scandinavian pulp could be obtained on certain markets. Since the second quarter of the year, however, a certain stabilization was noticeable with no more opportunities to quote at fancy heights. This level which was maintained on export markets for Swedish pulp (except the United States) throughout the last two quarters of 1951, was about 2½ to 3 times higher than at the beginning of the Korean war.

According to official Swedish figures, average export prices for all Swedish pulps have shown the following trend (index 1949 = 100):


1st quarter


2nd quarter


3rd quarter


4th quarter



1st quarter


2nd quarter






It is of interest to compare these figures with the unit value indexes for exported Finnish mechanical pulp and dry cellulose (index 1935=100!, as published by the Bank of Finland.

Mechanical Pulp

Dry Cellulose

Whole year 1949



Whole year 1950



1950: January-October



1951: January-May









By December 1951, the average export price index for Finnish chemical pulp had climbed to 4,869 (1935= 100). At the same time, the corresponding index for plywood was only 1,947, that for sawnwood 2,947, and the export price indexes for paper and unsawn timber 3,261 and 4,102 respectively.

Under such circumstances the returns from pulp export sales were clearly of great importance to the economy of the three northern countries, and special export charges have been introduced in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The nature and amount of the charges vary widely in each country, but as a rule there is a sliding scale according to price. In Norway, for instance, the charge on the September 1951 export prices was almost 25 percent for mechanical pulp, 33½ percent for bleached sulphite and 30½ percent for rayon pulp. The export charges in Sweden and Finland are less severe.

In the importing countries the trend in prices for pulps of foreign origin was influenced almost solely by the developments in Scandinavia, as relatively small quantities of pulp were coming from non-European sources. In France, for instance, the average price for all imported unbleached sulphite was, in August 1951, about 229 percent higher than a year earlier and 84 percent higher than in January 1951. The price for all imported unbleached kraft pulp had, by the same date, increased by almost 265 percent during the preceding twelve month period and by 103 percent from the beginning of the year. In the prices for imported bleached chemical pulps the comparative rises were around 170 and 87 percent respectively.

There were wide differences in pulp prices paid during the latter part of the year. Quotations for Scandinavian pulp on the European markets were from at least 25 to 35 percent higher than the ceiling prices for European pulp fixed in the United States. On the other hand, the ceiling import prices in the United States were still 50 to 60 percent above the maximum prices for domestic pulp.

A considerable divergence existed in Europe between prices for imported Scandinavian pulps and those originating in the United States and Canada.

In all of the major exporting countries in Europe prices of pulpwood showed very substantial increases during the last months of 1951. As demand for pulp remained strong toward the turn of the year, no immediate decrease in pulp prices was in sight. There were some price fixings at slightly increased prices, but on the whole Swedish and Norwegian prices for exports to the United Kingdom were the same in the first quarter of 1952. It was, however, reported that Finnish exporters decreased, by the beginning of February, the price for unbleached mechanical pulp to be sold to the United Kingdom, so that the earlier difference between Finnish and Swedish prices for this particular product on that market disappeared.

Outlook in Europe

Pulping capacity is likely to increase from 1952 onwards in Europe. In France, for example the theoretical capacity of the pulp industry will be by the end of 1952 about 790,000 tons, as compared to 619,000 tons in 1951. Of the aggregate increase, straw pulp manufacture will account for about 51,000 tons, and the pulping of broad-leaved species for 79,000 tons.

In Finland, a new mill is planned to produce 30,000 tons of mechanical pulp annually, and in Sweden expansion will provide for an extra 40,000 tons of sulphate pulp annually, but these plants are not expected to come into operation before 1953. In Western Germany a new plant with an annual capacity of 48,000 tons of sulphate and 12,000 tons of semi-chemical pulp is projected. It will be the first sulphate mill in the country and is expected to meet about 40 percent of the need for this grade of pulp. It is believed that one-third of the wood requirements of the new factory can be covered by domestic pulpwood and the rest by waste.

In Portugal, a sulphate mill with a yearly capacity of 20,000 tons is reported to be under construction. This production would meet the country's own requirements and leave some 5,000 tons annually for export.

As yet it is difficult to see to what extent the European pulpwood supply situation in 1952 will differ from that in 1951. Trade figures relating to the first six months of 1951 show that Yugoslavia was able to increase its exports of pulpwood to Germany and Austria considerably. Yugoslavia, which is the greatest single supplier of pulpwood to Italy, has extended its trade agreement with the latter country until August 1952. Poland also was more active in its pulpwood sales than a year earlier. Polish exports of pulpwood may be affected when the big pulp and paper mill starts operating which is now under construction at Kostezyn, and which is reported to have a higher capacity than the total prewar pulp industry of Poland.

Finnish roundwood exports have been under a system of licensing since January 1952, which means that the distribution of exportable quantities of pulpwood will not be determined by price but by consideration of currency and other factors within the framework of the official trade policy. A first consequence of this new arrangement has been an agreement with Switzerland providing for purchases of pulpwood (350,000 steres), covering practically the total Swiss import requirements for 1952.

One of the major factors influencing the pulpwood supply situation in 1952 will still be the intensity of the competition for small-sized roundwood by various interests. According to the Timber Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe, towards the end of 1951 there was an easing on the European pulpwood market, with a slight price decrease and consequently reduced competition between buyers of pulpwood and pitprops.

As to developments in pulp trade in 1952, the following are a few pointers. Pulp imports into the United Kingdom came under a system of licensing as of November 1951. According to unconfirmed reports, imports in the first six months of 1952 would be kept within a value quota allowing a total import quantity about 7 percent lower than in the first half of 1951, estimated quantitative reduction being 5 percent for mechanical pulp and 16 percent for chemical pulp. Paper mills in the United Kingdom will also need special licences to use pulp, and the allotments will vary for different paper qualities. Additional reduction of pulp allotments are expected from the beginning of March. These new regulations will naturally affect imports from the northern countries.

The "austerity program" proclaimed by the French Government at the beginning of February 1952 includes severe cuts in imports. While it is reported that pulp imports are to be put under a system of licensing, it is not yet clear to what extent the new policy will affect total pulp imports.

The competition of North American pulp on European markets has so far been of secondary importance, due to the relatively small quantities available or allotted for export and the dollar shortage in Europe. Even if, as is believed, the United States should be able in 1952 to release export pulp in a quantity considerably in excess of the amounts exported last year, it is not certain whether the dollar shortage will allow this cheaper-priced pulp to be taken up in competition with Scandinavian produce by the importing countries of' Europe. On the other hand increased exports of North American pulp to Latin America and some other non-European markets may have an affect on exports from Northern Europe.

At the beginning of 1952 there were signs of growing reluctance to accept Scandinavian export prices which had increased because of export charges. The United Kingdom and France reduced by 20 percent the ceiling prices for imported wood pulp from all countries other than the United States and Canada; in the United Kingdom the new prices were effective for contracts concluded after 11 February and in France from 1 April. After that date quantitative restrictions on imports were abolished in France so that the import of wood pulp is practically free.

These measures taken by the governments of France and the United Kingdom may be followed by action by other importing countries. They have created a confusing situation on the European market.

Aerial view of FAO headquarters, Rome

Arbor Days and the World Festival of the Trees

During the Sixth Session of the FAO Conference in November 1951, as part of a tree festival celebrated throughout the country, the Prime Minister of Italy Mr. De Gasperi, joined With representatives of nearly all the member nations of FAO in clothing a deforested slope outside the ancient city with new trees. Later the FAO Conference, on the initiative of the representative of India, adopted a resolution calling on each member country of the Organization to arrange that each year, on dates suited to local conditions, a World Festival of the Trees should be celebrated to help arouse mass consciousness of the aesthetic physical and economic value of trees in that order. Many countries of the world already have their arbor days and tree festivals and trees err often linked to religious festivals. The aim now may well be to associate in people's minds the care needed to nurture trees With the devotion needed to bring tranquillity and plenty to the world.

The Italian ceremony of 1951 resumed the country's celebration of Arbor Day which started as early as 1899 and was suspected during the war.

Wide publicity was given to the event, which has as its purpose to make the general public forest-conscious and to inspire a proper understanding of the importance of trees to the national economy. The campaign was carried on by radio and press, posters and special numbers of technical journals were issued; prizes were given for the best articles; medals were awarded to individuals and institutions who had made outstanding contributions to the cause of forestry; and the Postal Department marked the occasion by issuing the two special stamps reproduced here.

In Rome where Arbor Day was celebrated on 21 November, the Prime Minister of Italy Sig. de Gasperi. and each national delegation to the FAO Conference planted a commemorative tree as a token of the universal significance of the occasion.

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