The uncertainty of the global economy affected Metso's customer industries in Europe and North America. In Asia and particularly in the Chinese markets, investment activity continued to be lively. In the year's final quarter, the North American economy showed signs of recovery.
In pulp and paper industry markets, the price of chemical pulp rose until early June, after which it declined, before increasing in October. In Europe, the prices of printing papers leveled off after a decline in the first half of the year. In North America, the prices of newsprint and magazine paper strengthened slightly in the second half of the year, but fine paper prices fell significantly.
In rock and minerals processing markets, the prices of the most common base metals rose steadily throughout the year. In Europe and North America, the price of aggregates developed moderately. In growing markets, especially in India and China, the price of aggregates increased. The price development was also affected by continuously tightening quality demands on aggregates, which in turn added to the technology demands on the crushing process. In addition, the price of recycled metal rose significantly.
The weakening of the U.S. dollar throughout the year was clearly reflected in Metso's operating environment and reduced the competitiveness of products made in Europe.