Wood Business

Industry News Markets
Global Sawlog Price Index fell to two-year low in Q2 2019: WRQ


October 2, 2019
By Wood Resources International LLC

The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) fell for the fifth consecutive quarter in the 2Q/19, reaching a two-year low. Log prices were down on all continents, with the biggest declines occurring in Europe, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Plentiful supply from storm-damaged and beetle-infested forests in Central Europe changed the log demand/supply balance and trade flow throughout Central and Northern Europe in the spring and summer.

In North America, there have been only small price adjustments in the major log markets the past 12 months. The only exception is the U.S. Northwest, where sawlog prices have fallen from record highs in early 2018 to levels closer to their 25-year averages in the 2Q/19. Prices for domestically consumed Douglas-fir sawlog fell 20 per cent from the 1Q/18 to the 2Q/19, while hemlock log prices were down 25 per cent during the same period. Plentiful log supply, lower production at the region’s sawmills in the first six months of the year (down 2.7 per cent from 1H/18), and reduced log exports to Asia (25 per cent lower year-to-date than in 2018) are all factors which have driven down log prices in the first six months of 2019.

In the 2Q/19, the European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) fell 3.7 per cent quarter-over-quarter, reaching a nine-year low. In Euro terms, average sawlog prices in Austria and Germany have fallen almost 20 per cent in two years, benefiting the two countries’ sawmilling industry sectors, which have had some of the highest wood raw-material costs in the world over the past 25 years. In the 2Q/19, the discrepancy between the average sawlog prices in Austria and the ESPI was at its lowest level since 2008. The log price trend in Germany has been similar to the one in Austria but the price surge from 2017 to 2019 has been even more dramatic. In the 2Q/19, the average spruce sawlog price in Germany was down 22 per cent from the 2Q/17, as compared to the 17 per cent decline seen in Austria during the same time period.

Prices for logs from fast-growing pine plantations in Australia, Brazil and Chile continue to be among the lowest in the world, while radiata pine prices in New Zealand have increased faster than the GSPI index and have surpassed the index during the past two years.

Global lumber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 56-page quarterly publication, the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, wood chip, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. Please visit our website WoodPrices.com to learn more about our subscription services.