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The Corona crisis goes into the second round in winter and increases the pressure in the individual processing areas within the German sawmill and wood industry. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is leading Germany into a second lockdown. The number of infections has skyrocketed across Europe in the past few weeks. Far-reaching restrictions in public life will apply in the coming weeks. The effects of the second lockdown on the industry cannot yet be foreseen. “We look to the future with mixed feelings. This can also be seen in the development of the various areas of wood processing: The softwood companies are mostly doing well, the hardwood companies have been hit hard by the crisis and the sawing by-products remain an economic challenge, ” German Sawmill and Wood Industry Association (DeSH) President Jörn Kimmich explains the latest results of the association’s survey.

Softwood so far as a stability factor

In the softwood industry, the positive trend from the second quarter continued during the corona pandemic. “The third quarter of 2020 was very positive for the softwood processing companies: 81 percent of our companies report that they have exceeded their expectations. 13 percent were able to meet their expectations and the quarter was worse for only six percent. However, the outlook for the next six months is cautious. In addition to the possible effects of the corona pandemic on the construction sector, the political framework conditions, such as the US election and the development of extreme weather events, will have a major impact on the industry, ”says Kimmich, who is himself the managing director of ante-Holz GmbH.

Hardwood on a downward trend

A completely different picture emerges with the hardwood processing companies. “Unfortunately, this is the weakest month since our first market survey. Over half (53 percent) of the companies surveyed rate their economic situation as poor. The supply situation is also on a downward trend. It is therefore not surprising that the expectations of the hardwood sawmills for the next few months are largely bad,” summarized the DeSH President. “This development is extremely worrying. That is why we will be discussing ways out of the crisis at the congress. “

By-products as a challenge

“The situation with by-products has also been consistently bad for months. Especially for wood chips and sawdust, 75 percent report a further decline in prices. Since there will probably not be any signs of improvement in the next few months, the by-products are increasingly becoming an economic challenge for the other areas of production, ”says Kimmich.

Negative outlook

Even if the corona pandemic does not allow any forecasts on economic development, the ifo index also shows that the German sawmill and wood industry is revising its expectations for the coming months downwards. “At the moment, with Corona and climate change alone, events with an unpredictable dynamic are coming together and creating a very complex situation for the economy. Through our member surveys, we will therefore continue to try to identify developments early on and, hopefully, to be able to act, ”concluded Kimmich.

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