© Shutterstock

werner stix

Easing of the situation possibly in autumn

Article by Gerd Ebner (translated by Eva Guzely) | 12.05.2021 - 09:54

JAF © Werner Stix

For Stix, the fact that there is an insufficient supply of almost all product groups in Europe is “not a purely European thing – there is an imported demand”. The latter refers to profitable sales opportunities in the US, and China’s hunger for wood, among other things.

Stix sees the development of prices as being closely linked to the strength of demand. “This is also true for chemical products, such as adhesives,” he analyzes and also gives the development of steel and insulation prices as examples for the building material segment.

Attempt to balance things out

It is the global increase in demand that leads to a limited supply at a local level. “The hoarding of goods is only a small part of it,” says Stix, who emphasizes at the same time that “the stock-holding trade is the solution and not the cause of the problem. We are in the middle and balance out fluctuations in the supply chain. At the moment, this means that we are trying to supply our regular customers with sufficient quantities of goods.”

Delivery times are going to normalize

According to Stix, the situation could ease a little starting in autumn. “By then, delivery times could normalize again,” he predicts. “Also, some construction projects are postponed for cost-related reasons which also brings some easing. In addition, price increases are going to become smaller and smaller. There will not be an immediate plunge from the new levels, however. They will remain higher because the days of cheap raw material are probably over.”

No sudden downward trend

As long as overseas markets do not collapse suddenly, prices will hold. “For certain projects, a different mix of building materials may be used. However, the advantages of wood remain the same. Also, politics want more timber constructions.”

As for the future of the timber industry, Stix wishes for enough brainpower for further product innovations. “The new products have to minimize the use of wood.”

Just-in-time has its limits

“The stock-holding wholesale trade, which has always taken its trading role seriously, will continue to have the advantage in the future,” says Stix. “However, the entire sector will have to plan ahead more in the future. Just-in-time has its limits, as many people now realize in a painful way. In addition, anyone who has already experienced structural difficulties before, will have an even harder time in the future.”