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austria/germany

The rate of decrease has slowed

Article by Gerd Ebner (translated by Eva Guzely) | 01.12.2021 - 10:34

Highest price in Austria

In November, the Holzkurier recorded a decrease of around €13/m³ compared to the August level in Austria, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Log prices range from €99 to €106/m³. There is thus a €10/m³ difference between Austria (around €107/m³) and Bavaria (around €97/m³).

The fall in prices is caused by two developments:

  • better supply as a result of increased harvesting activities
  • noticeably weaker demand due to reduced cutting

Market situation is stabilizing

The month of November showed that there is an increasing balance between supply and demand when it comes to log wood. The rate of the price decrease has slowed significantly compared to October.

As for Baden-Württemberg, the Holzkurier even identified a calculated price increase of €1.5/m³. The downward trend thus seems to have bottomed out to a certain extent in November.

€30 more than last year

The November price level is around €30/m³ higher than it was in the same period of last year. In Austria, log prices rose by €27/m³, while a €34/m³ increase was recorded in Bavaria.

There are psychologically important marks that buyers would have preferred not to pass, given the sharp drop in lumber sales and prices (e. g. the €100/m³ mark in Austria). Sellers, on the other hand, would see logging activities as being at serious risk in such a case.

Short-term contracts only

In light of this situation, hardly any contracts with binding prices are signed for 2022. While demand for sawlogs is still expected to be sluggish in the first quarter, the situation should improve significantly in the second quarter.

Recently, redwood has become more attractive in the greater region. Douglas fir remains a rare and popular tree species, but pine in particular is experiencing an increase both in demand and prices. Prices of hardwood logs also keep rising. Oak prices in particular continue to soar (see article “Oak price causes concern”). Demand for beech logs is also at a level it has not been at for quite a while.

We are apparently at a point where €100/m³ are the new bad price.

A log wood buyer

Bavarians were busy harvesting

After the end of the Forest Damage Compensation Act in late September, additional quantities were suddenly available on the market in Bavaria. Forestry companies left the damage-struck areas of Central Germany in September to work more “at home”. Furthermore, one truism seems to apply once again: When prices fall, the log harvest is even harder to limit. The additional quantities led to lower prices in October as well as in November. The Holzkurier identified a price level ranging from €94 to €100/m³ in Bavaria, which is €10/m³ below Austrian prices.

Demand for lower-quality wood

The supply of A to C-quality wood is very good. Demand for D-quality lumber products, on the other hand, is stronger which is why they are scarce in some places, according to buyers.

In Austria, too, the decrease in prices has come to a standstill.

The November prices ranged from €104 to €110/m³. Thus, only a 50-cent decrease was recorded compared to October. The further price development is not yet clear. Sawmills are likely to shut down for three or four weeks from December 18 in order to relieve the lumber market, reduce overtime and to do necessary maintenance work.

Renaissance of pulpwood

Pulpwood is seeing a rise in prices and a reduction in stock levels in the entire country. As a result of an improvement of the damaged wood situation, smaller volumes are accumulating.

Contrary to the sawmill industry, the paper industry should be in continuous operation even between the holidays.