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Sweden, who supplies almost half of the structural wood that is used in the UK, has its current stock levels at the lowest level in over 20 years.

UK’s Timber Trade Federation (TTF) is warning timber users that the balance between supply and demand is likely to further tighten in Q3 2021.

The statement comes after recent communications from Sweden, who supply almost half of the structural wood that is used in the UK, that their current stock levels are at their lowest in over 20 years – despite record levels of production from the Swedish sawmill industry.

As structural wood buyers will already be more than aware, the supply and demand balance for Q2 2021 means that almost all wood arriving in the UK has been presold to customers. Despite strict allocations, most buyers are already unable to purchase all the timber they want for their business.

TTF Technical and Trade Manager, Nick Boulton, said: “We have great respect for our Swedish partners, who have consistently worked throughout the pandemic to meet UK wood needs; as they have done for decades. This means we need to take their statement extremely seriously.

“The already tight balance between supply and demand is already being made worse because there are insufficient Heavy Good Vehicles available to get the wood out of UK ports and into UK customers yards.

“As we enter July, sawmills and wood production facilities in Sweden and other European countries start to close for essential summer maintenance, and this will significantly reduce the available supply of structural wood for the UK.

“Usually during the summer shutdown period there is a significant reliance on Swedish sawmill stocks. However, if these stocks are now at their lowest level for 20 years there will not be sufficient supply to satisfy UK structural wood demand in Q3.

“Although prices have risen substantially from an artificially-low point towards the end of 2019, they have now exceeded the levels of 2018, and are set to increase further as the current supply situation significantly worsens.

“We have been warning since the beginning of the year that we believed Q3 would be the most difficult part of the year, and there is now sufficient information to support this assessment.

“It’s important to note that timber is not alone in this scenario. As the Construction Leadership Council has made clear, demand has outpaced supply across the board, which is affecting the availability of nearly all construction products.”

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