Finnish forest products export volume reaches record high

The Finnish forest industry’s production and export volumes—except for paper—will increase over last year with demand expected to be the highest for sawnwood, pulp and cardboard, according to the Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook released by Natural Resources Institute Finland.

The competition will lead to falls in export prices in all main product groups except plywood this year, but prices will stabilise next year.

Exports of sawnwood are expected to grow this year to 8.5 million m3, a record-high figure. Sawnwood export volumes to Europe, Asia and North Africa increased during the first half of this year, particularly spruce sawnwood exports to China.

Intensifying competition and the oversupply of sawnwood in certain markets are burdening the export prices of sawn pinewood in particular.

“The slight rise in sawnwood production and export volumes is expected to continue in 2017, but the decline in export unit prices will stabilise,” said Antti Mutanen, a researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

“We cannot look forward to growth in the consumption of sawnwood in Finland this year, due to the sluggish trend in the construction of single-family houses. More emphatic growth is expected in domestic consumption in 2017. Plywood production and export volumes and prices are being maintained by the recovery in construction in Europe, alongside lively demand for industrial applications.”

As the use of timber in the forest industry grows, commercial felling will rise in Finland this year to 59.5 million m3 and to 61.8 million m3 next year. Roundwood imports will rise slightly this year.

The consumption of forest chips is expected to grow to around 8.2 million m3 (solid volumes) this year, with equal figures forecast for next year. The average purchase price of forest chips at plants in 2016 and 2017 is expected to remain at almost the same level as in 2015. This year, the production of wood pellets in Finland will remain equal to last year’s level, but will increase by a few percent next year.