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GERMANY/AUSTRIA/SWITZERLAND

Golden years for cross-laminated timber

Article by Günther Jauk, translated by Susanne Höfler | 04.09.2019 - 13:56

Busy, but less agitated

Local CLT producers are satisfied with the current market situation. The market is booming, and for the remaining four months of the year several projects are already waiting in the pipeline, as one of the producers puts it. Delivery times during the summer months ranged between 1.5 and four months depending on product and market, just like last year. However, individual producers described the situation as considerably less agitated than in the years before. The conclusion is that customers have now adapted to the current delivery times. 

As regards price development, little movement has been observed since last year. Even though individual prices have been adjusted moderately, compared to other wood products they remained essentially stable. Despite the remarkably good situation, market participants emphasize that selling cross-laminated timber is still not a sure-fire success - to successfully put your capacities on the market a lot of "footwork".

Relaxation expected in 2020

Hardly anyone considers the additional capacities that will hit the market starting next year a problem. Instead, producers are hoping for a relaxation of the situation and a balance between supply and demand. 

Looking a little further into the future, however, the prognoses are becoming much more careful. Apart from fixed additional capacities like those from KLH in Wiesenau, Theurl in Steinfeld or Stora Enso in Ždírec/CZ, numerous other large timber industries in Central Europe are considering to enter the CLT market. Furthermore, especially the general economic climate and the associated development of the construction sector's situation play pivotal, yet hard to assess roles. 

In spite of those expected changes, however, producers are far from pessimistic. Cross-laminated timber is still a niche product that shows reasonable development. Every additional producer is important for the further establishment of CLT - it is generally agreed upon that the market still offers enough room.

New markets

Some of the local producers have made more progress in terms of consistently working export markets than others. Apart from spot deliveries around the world, especially the United States is often referred to as one of the non-European customer countries. Still, this market is developing much slower than often put forth. "There is much more talk than action", is one assessment. Moreover, the lobby against the utilizatoin of solid wood in multi-story constructions is much stronger there than in Europe, one local producer explains. With the first big domestic producers such as Katerra or International Beams, however, this could change soon.