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The softwood markets in October 2012 Report from the 7th International Softwood Conference in Stockholm


24 Oct 2012


Trade & Society
Innovation & Enterprise

„Tough market conditions for sawn softwood in Europe and signs of improvement in North- America“. This is how one could briefly summarize the softwood market at present, based upon the statistical material and discussions from the 2012 International Softwood Conference held in Stockholm on 18 and 19 October 2012.

This year´s local hosts, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, could welcome more than 150 delegates to the event, which was organised by the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry, EOS, and the European Timber Trade Federation, ETTF.

The figures presented speak for themselves:

  • Production of sawn softwood in 2012 will fall by 5.3% in the EOS member countries (and by 3.8% when considering all European ISC countries). For 2013 a further decline is forecast (-1% in EOS, +0.1% in European ISC countries). The European production volume accounts for about 97.6 mio m3.
  • North-American production, on the other hand, increases by 7.2% in 2012 (+2.2% in 2013), from 88.9 mio to 90.8 mio m3.
  • In the total ISC region, production in 2012 is expected to close at a rate of 1.2% above the 2011 volume.
  • Consumption in EOS and European ISC countries is forecast to decrease by 3.4 or 3.5% in 2012. North-American consumption matches the production increase figure (+6.6%).

Total consumption would close at 155 mio m3, 1,8% above the 2011 volume.

As main reason for the negative development, sector and company representatives pointed to the difficult market situation in many countries, still suffering from weak performance in construction and low consumer confidence, difficulties on export markets caused by political instability and the record high log prices .

However, the start of the recovery in the US housing market, one of the main causes for the recent negative developments, might well also set growth in motion.

The Chief Economist of Nordea Bank, Mrs Annika Winsth, reviewed developments on the financial markets and the impact on the economy globally. She concluded that global growth will be sluggish, with countries still facing many risks.

However, considering that important steps have been taken by authorities, she expressed confidence that the crisis will be overcome. The tough conditions for construction are likely to persist for some time still.

Ed Pepke from the European Forest Institute commented the statistical survey, focusing also on the impact of developments in foreign markets and the influence of policies, such as for renewable energy and in the fight against illegal logging and deforestation.

Reports on the developments in the European, North-American and foreign markets weregiven by an eminent panel of speakers:

  • Miika Pesonen from Stora Enso Building and Living looked at the wood products market outlook in Europe and globally;
  • The chairman of ETTF, Mr Andreas von Möller presented the views from the softwood importers on the European markets;
  • Don B. Kayne, President and CEO of Canfor Corp. highlighted the developments in Canada, Asia, Pacific and China. He pleaded for a stronger co-operation globally in order to grow the market for wood and wood products use;
  • An analysis of the US market was given by the chairman of Idaho Forest Group, Marc Brinkmeyer, who focused strongly on housing developments and the Check off programme aimed at developing the market for wood products;
  • Roman Dashivets, Commercial director of TSLK Ltd. presented the latest data on the Russian softwood market and current issues;
  • The survey on the markets was closed by Mr Anders Marklund, the general director of Uni4Marketing. He shared his experience in the Middle East and North African markets.

These presentations were followed by two rounds of discussion and questions and answers, allowing participants to get addtional information and comments on the market developments affecting the softwood business.

Following the decision at the 2011 softwood conference to work out a joint European wood ,promotion activity between the members of EOS and ETTF, Mr Jan Söderlind, chairman of European Wood and Mrs Annejet Pette from Schuttelaar & partners presented the concept for this action, aimed at enhancing the co-operation on wood promotion between the various bodies and organisations by setting up a communication and information exchange platform. This co-operation platform will now be developed further and implemented by the

European promotion bodies and the EOS and ETTF member federations.

The ETTF Secretary General, Mr André De Boer, drew attention to the European Union Timber Regulation and the latest developments concerning the due diligence system operators will have to comply with as from March 2013.

The final presentation of the conference was given by Mr Marc Michielsen, CHEP Europe and member of the Board of FEFPEB and CEI-Bois. He reported about the European wood packaging and pallet market and its importance for the softwood sawmilling sector.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation, SFIF, had set up, next to the conference, a most interesting framework programme for partners and delegates, including a reception at the Stockholm town hall and the offical dinner at the Vasamuseum which were most appreciated by delegates and partners.

The next International Softwood Conference will be held October 2013 in Edinburgh, organised by the UK Timber Trade Federation and Confor.

For more information, please contact André De Boer, ETTF (Mobile: +31653107268); Bertil Stener, SFIF (+46702071852) or Filip De Jaeger/Gabriela Gorostiza, EOS (+32486898184 / +32486304255).

Responsible editor: EOS aisbl, Rue Montoyer 24, B-1000 Bruxelles


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