Global sawlog price index rose 8% in Q4 2020 due to demand in North America and Europe

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Both of the Wood Resources International’s (WRI) sawlog price indices (Global and European) jumped 8% quarter-on-quarter in Q4 2020 as log prices increased worldwide. Demand for logs improved when lumber consumption increased in the second half of 2020, particularly in the United States (US), the United Kingdom, South Korea, and the Middle East and North America region. In Europe, the lumber market was generally flat, with only minor changes in domestic demand. However, European countries with high levels of lumber exports to non-European countries were in luck. Record-setting lumber prices in the US helped drive increased shipments to higher levels year-on-year than in Q4 2020. These increases were observed in Germany, Sweden, Romania and Austria.

The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) rose to a two-year high of US$74.66/m3 in Q4 2020. This was more than two dollars above its 25-year average. Western US, Western Canada, Austria, Germany and Estonia saw the most significant quarter-on-quarter price increases. Of the 21 regions included on the Index, only Northwest Russia and Poland saw falling sawlog prices from Q3 2020 to Q4 2020.

The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI), denominated in Euros, rose to €76.13/m3 in Q4 2020, up from an 11-year low in Q3 2020. Sawlog prices in Austria, Germany, Norway, Estonia and the Czech Republic increased the most during the fall of 2020.

Russia exported 15 million m3 of logs in 2020, which accounted for almost 12% of globally traded roundwood. Much of this trade may come to a halt next year when a new law proposed by Russia’s president will ban the exportation of softwood logs and high-value hardwood logs starting 1 January 2022. According to a just-released study by WRI and O’Kelly Acumen, Russian Log Export Ban in 2022 – Implications for the Global Forest Industry, China will probably look to source more sawlogs from other regions of the world, such as Oceania, Europe and the US.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC