The Austrian economy is slowly recovering from the coronavirus-related lockdown, despite continuing risks due to increasing numbers of infections. The demand for fresh spruce sawlogs was brisk in August and the forest stocks caused by damaged wood have largely been dismantled. However, the spruce prices have not yet followed the increased demand.

The Austrian sawmill industry was stocked differently with spruce logs in August. Accordingly, a slight recovery in demand is also noticeable. The supply mostly works without any problems, and the quantities provided are removed accordingly quickly. Most of the existing forest camps were dismantled, while damaged wood resulted from the August thunderstorms are manageable and can be sold without any problems.

Bark beetle wood comes now

However, an increased accumulation of bark beetle wood is to be expected in the coming weeks. The prices are still at an unattractive level and have only sporadically followed the increased demand. In the damaged areas of Lower Austria, the main range spruce sawlogs quality A, B, C 2a+ cost now around 50 – 60 € / cubic meter, while in the rest of Lower Austria 55 – 66 € / cubic meter. In Salzburg and Vorarlberg, too, prices are sometimes around 50 € / m3. The highest prices are still paid in Styria at € 73-75 / m3. The sale of pine sawlogs remains difficult. The brisk demand for larch, on the other hand, can hardly be met.

Industrial timber market still sluggish …

An oversized supply of softwood pulpwood logs and saw by-products, coupled with partial revision shutdowns, hardly cause any demand for this range. The paper, pulp and board industry are very well stocked, all storage capacities are exhausted. The removal is very slow, and the forest camps continue to build up. The prices are stable at the lowest level. In most cases, prices are just over € 20 / m3, and sometimes even below that. Tyrol holds the sad record with 16 € / m3. In the case of red beech fiberwood, difficulties in selling the finished products result in lower raw material consumption and thus a decline in demand.

… as well as the energy wood market

There is still no relief on the energy wood market. Large supply, additionally increased by unneeded industrial timber, meets low demand. Quantities outside the contracts cannot be marketed. The lack of follow-up tariffs and the still outstanding Renewable Expansion Law are forcing many operators to stand still and making the situation even worse.

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