Domestic and imported sawlogs’ prices in Austria and Germany have been falling during 2015 and 2016 to an all-time low in a decade, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
While domestic log prices have declined, they are still among the highest in Europe and many sawmills in the two countries have increased importation of lower cost sawlogs from neighbouring countries in the past few years.
Softwood sawlog prices in both Austria and Germany have been in a steady decline for about two years and in 1Q/16, they reached their lowest level since 2006 (in US dollar terms). Although less dramatic, prices have also trended downward in Euro terms with average prices currently being 12% lower than two years ago.
Despite the recent price declines, sawmills in the two countries have some of the highest wood costs in Europe. The high costs for domestically sourced sawlogs have driven sawmills to increasingly source wood raw-material from neighbouring countries where log prices are lower. Germany and Austria are the second and third largest importers of softwood logs in the world and Germany in particular has increased importation substantially over the past five years. In 2008, Germany was actually a net exporter of logs of about 1.6 million m³ but the flow of logs has since turned around and the country was a net importer of 5.4 million m³ in 2015. The major log-supplying countries in 2015 and early 2016 have been the Czech Republic, Poland, Norway and Estonia.
Austria imported just over 6.5 million m3 of softwood logs in 2015 and is on pace to reach closer to 7.5 million m3 in 2016. Three countries supply about 85% of the import volume, namely the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovenia. The biggest shifts in log sourcing over the past ten years have been the sharp reduction in importation from Germany, while Slovenian imports have gone up from 180,000 m³ in 2006 to 1.2 million m³ in 2015.
Source: Lesprom Network