Log trade in the Baltic Sea region has declined: WRI
June 21, 2023 By Wood Resources International
The two largest log-trading regions in Europe are Central Europe (where Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany are the major importers) and Northern Europe (Finland and Sweden are the two log-importing countries). The most significant change in trade flow in Europe over the past few years has been the dramatic decline in log imports to the Nordic countries from Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in early 2022.
According to Wood Resources International, the total log import volume to Finland and Sweden was just over eight million m3 last year compared to an average of almost 16 million m3 annually throughout the previous decade. In addition to the halt in log imports from Russia, there has also been a substantial decline in log exports from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the Nordic countries. Most of the reduction has been in softwood logs, while hardwood log shipments have been relatively stable, fluctuating between three and four million m3 annually.
Softwood log trade in the Baltic Sea region has declined steadily for the past five years. In the 3Q/18, the total softwood log imports to Finland and Sweden reached a 15-year peak at 2.5 million m3 for the quarter and have since trended downward to just over one million m3 in the 1Q/23 (see chart). Over the past year, trade flows to Sweden from neighboring Finland and Norway declined the most, shipments from Sweden to Finland and from Latvia to Sweden showed slight increases.
The tighter supply of pulplogs and strong pulp markets has pushed log prices upward over the past year. In the 1Q/23, y-o-y import prices for softwood and hardwood pulplog to Finland jumped 93 per cent and 123 per cent, respectively. Prices for imported softwood and hardwood pulplogs to Sweden were up 14 per cent and 111 per cent, respectively, during the same period. Pulplog import prices to Finland and Sweden were substantially higher than domestic prices in the 1Q/23, as reported in the new WoodMarket Price digital platform from ResourceWise.
Wood Resource Quarterly has been digitized and is now available as an interactive online business intelligence platform, WoodMarket Prices (WMP). The pricing data service, established in 1988, has subscribers in over 30 countries. The WMP tracks prices for sawlog, pulpwood, lumber & pellets and reports on trade and wood market developments in most key regions worldwide. For more insights on the WMP platform, a unique and valuable tool for every organization that requires updates on the latest developments of global forest products markets, please go to Global Wood Prices.
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