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sales indicator february 2020

Coronavirus changes many things

Article by Gerd Ebner (translated by Eva Guzely) | 05.03.2020 - 13:35

The year started off strong. In January, there was a “mad demand” for main assortments which continued till mid-February. The sales indicator was stable at 101.9% and thus recorded only a slight decrease of 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous month.

Italy’s economy is affected

In February, however, Italy became a corona-hotspot: Transport companies avoid orders from Italy because they fear that their drivers might get stuck. Export customers no longer let Italian workers enter the country etc. All of this has consequences already and is going to get worse in March.

Corona everywhere: Due to the lack of containers, shipments to China became more expensive. 1,700 US-$ per container mean that the cost has doubled compared to few months ago. This is already affecting the flow of damaged wood from Central Europe to China. If the situation in China stabilizes by April, sea freight logistics could return to normal by June or July.

Lower exports bring less currency to China. Currency transactions have already come close to a standstill. Supplying countries, which expect immediate payment, are already looking for alternatives to China. This mainly concerns Russia which seems to focus more on North African markets.

Before the spread of the coronavirus, significant increases in main assortment prices were expected for the second quarter. Now, one has to wait and see which changes are going to take place on the international softwood sawn timber market.

The only overseas market which is still booming is the US.