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Global demand for sawlogs down

The global sawlog price index for the first quarter of 2012 was down almost nine percent from early 2011, with Europe experiencing the biggest decline in prices according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Source: Forest Industry Network

Prices for sawlogs fell in almost all 20 countries covered by the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Lower demands for lumber in many markets in Europe and reduced log imports to China were two major factors that pushed softwood log prices downward in the first quarter.

Prices fell the most in the Nordic countries, Coastal British Columbia, Poland, Germany and Austria.

In many European countries, sawlog prices fell during the winter months as a result of reduced domestic demand, slowing markets in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and uncertainty over the near-term financial health of the European Union.

Trade of sawlogs fell in early 2012 because of reduced demand in most key lumber-producing countries in the world. This downturn comes after four years of consecutive increases in traded volumes from 2008 to 2011.

Of the 10 largest softwood log-importing countries, China, Germany and Spain have reduced imports the most so far this year, as compared with early 2011. Only Japan and South Korea have increased importation of logs to supply sawmills and plywood mills.

Japanese sawmills have not only increased their supply of imported logs, but are also using more domestic logs. During the first three months of 2012, log consumption by the country’s sawmills was up seven percent compared with the same period last year. Log consumption is expected to increase as the country is rebuilt in the aftermath the earthquake and tsunami last year.

The 527-page Wood Resource Quarterly report tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber, and pellet prices and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ visit