Even if this defused the beetle situation somewhat the flow of roundwood to processors remains high. Current supply volumes have once again caused prices in Austria and Germany to drop. Spruce/fir, B, 2b, free forest track, for instance, is only sold for €72 to 83/sm³ in Austria. Spruce trunk wood, B, 2b, yields between €75 and 84/sm³ in Bavaria and €75 to 83/sm³ in Baden-Württemberg.
In Austria, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, the current price level is at its lowest since the Q1 of 2010. The average value in the Timber-Online pricing screen between 2010 and today is €93/sm³ which is around €14/sm³ higher than in May. The current level is about 25% off with regards to the respective maximum values.
As for Germany, the price level in the South is still comparatively high. At the Forestry Association Convention in Dresden, even desperate pricing such as €0/sm³ as stumpage price were discussed. The pressure coming from damaged wood continues to be huge especially in central Germany.
Austria must fear that estimations concerning snow break damage from January have been too low. The Austrian Federal Forestry Office anticipates 550,000 sm³ of snow break in its affected territories alone . Now, this wood as covered by snow once again and will only be ready to be harvested and moved in June.
The cutting volume of Central European sawmills is high, and so is their demand for fresh wood. "Fresh and stronger wood is sought after, there is way too much of the poor quality," is the explanation. The current situation in Austria leads to spruce being rejected "at the sawmill gates by the score".
Markets continue to be receptive for lumber. Where sawmillers rather anticipate problems is with sawing byproducts. The wood chips accrual is about as high as last year. Sales of these volumes, however, are much more sluggish. The panel, paper and pellets sectors are not producing on 2018's level for different reasons. In the upcoming weeks, this could lead to a curb in production in sawmills.
The surplus for wood chips in Austria is 2%. There seem to be "remarkably many revisions" at pellets producers. The silos of producers are said to be well filled.
The most recent front carrying rain has a positive effect on the forest but causes blue staining of the wood on the other hand. "This quickly gets you down to pulpwood prices. And pulp and paper wood are almost unmarketable in Austria."
The high damaged wood accrual causes new export streams especially in Germany: In the Q1, China had an export share of 32% in German round softwood. During that period, the country bought 360,000 sm³; in the Q1 of 2019, it was 2000 sm³ .
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