The wood prices have risen sharply recently. However, the price increase for German forest owners was much more moderate than for the sawmill industry. According to the data from the Federal Statistical Office, the prices for spruce logs July were almost 35 percent higher than in the previous year. At the same time, the industrial selling prices (producer prices for commercial products) were 123 percent higher for softwood lumber, according to the Destatis surveys. The prices for industry and trade have risen four times as strongly as the prices at the producer level.
Nevertheless, German forest owners were significantly more satisfied with the spruce wood prices than in the previous year: In its Holmarkt report at the beginning of the second quarter, the Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture (STMELF) still reports prices for spruce sections 2b + of just over 90.00 euros per solid cubic meter .
At the end of the 2nd quarter, prices of 110.00 to 115.00 € were already being paid on the spot markets for the same range. For fresh spruce long logs (B-qualities, 2b), according to the STMELF’s surveys, between € 105.00 and a peak of € 120.00 were offered. The discounts for beetle qualities were in most cases € 10.00 to € 25.00 per cubic meter and were therefore significantly lower than in previous years.
Pine log price follow spruce trend
The prices for pine and Douglas fir also benefited from the sharp rise in spruce prices . However, the recovery was much more moderate. According to the data from Desatis, the prices for pine logs in July were almost 16 percent higher than in the previous year and almost 7 percent higher than in June. The prices for Douglas fir were, however, only 9 percent higher than in the previous year and even slightly lower than in the previous month.
The Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture (STMELF) also reported that the market for pine logs has picked up in the wake of the very strong demand for spruce. For fresh wood, prices up to over € 85.00 per solid cubic meter were paid. The demand for Douglas fir and larch logs also remained high as prices continued to rise. Regionally, despite the larger supply, the demand could not be satisfied, reports the STMELF.
The price index for softwood lumber and wood-based materials for wooden packaging and pallets is determined monthly by the Bundesverband Holzpackmittel-Paletten-Exportverpackung (HPE) in cooperation with the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. The HPE index has been rising sharply for months: since spring there have been double-digit increases every month: In June the index showed a price increase of 145 percent within a year.
Hardwood does not benefit from the rally
In contrast to softwood lumber, the prices for hardwood have risen much less sharply. However, there was also a far less marked decline in the previous year. According to the data from the Federal Statistical Office, the prices for beech wood for forest owners in July were only 4 percent higher than in the previous year and even slightly lower than in June. For oak, the prices were only 3 percent higher year-on-year than in the previous year and were also lower than in June.
The Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture nevertheless believes that the mood among the hardwood processing companies in Germany has brightened somewhat. In any case, forest owners assess the current business situation better than at the end of 2020. Nevertheless, expectations for the coming months are still relatively cautious.
After declines in the German production of hardwood lumber in previous years, this trend had even intensified by the end of 2020. The exports of beech and oak lumber also fell significantly in 2020 compared to the previous year, but in the first quarter of 2021 beech lumber rose again in some cases strongly compared to the same period of the previous year.