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Global log trade made a comeback in the third quarter of the year following two quarters of weak performances. Most of the increases in log imports occurred in Asia, while many countries in Europe have relied less on imported logs this year than in 2018 and 2019.

Shipments of softwood roundwood to China reached record-highs in the 3Q 2020 when the country imported 13.5 million m3 of logs, up 65% from the previous quarter. The major supplying countries were New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Russia, and the US. The most significant change from the 2Q 2020 was that of Germany, as the country more than doubled its exports to China.

Following a two-year decline, the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) increased in the 3Q 2020 by 2.9% from the previous quarter. The current GSPI is still the second lowest it has been in four years, and is 4.1% lower than the Index’s 25 year average.

Europe and Latin America are the two continents that have seen the most significant declines in sawlog prices in the past few years. In Europe, prices have plunged in all three sub-regions, with log costs in Central Europe having fallen the most – 22% (in Euro terms) from 2018 to 2020. The price trends in Europe’s three major log markets have developed quite differently over the past 20 years.

The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) fell by 1.4% q-o-q in the 3Q 2020. The Index has been in steady decline since 2018, when it reached a five-year high of Euro 86.50/m3. Since the peak, prices have fallen in all nine countries that serve as the Index’s basis. In the local currencies, prices have declined the most in the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Central Europe.

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