This year, the decline in the Finnish timber market continues as the forest industry’s production shutdowns in the early part of the year and the coronavirus pandemic have reduced production volumes. 

The decline is smallest for cardboard (-1 per cent), pulp and sawn timber slightly larger (-7 and -9 per cent) and for printing paper production (-15 per cent).

The felling of industrial wood is expected to fall to 57 million cubic meters, which is 10 percent less than in the previous year. Thus, the downturn will continue, as last year the decline compared to 2018 was of 9 percent.

The decline is felt more in Finnish private forests. 46 million cubic meters of wood are estimated to be harvested for industrial use this year, which is 12 percent less than last year. In the state forests, on the other hand, the amount of felling remains at last year’s level.

Log for sawing fellings are forecast to fall by 10 percent this year to just over 23 million cubic meters. There would be more demand for pulpwood, but because fiber can only be chopped to a limited extent without clogging at the same time, the harvest of pulpwood will also fall by 10 percent to 33 million cubic meters.

The average price of spruce sawlogs is expected to fall by 3% from last year, following the fall in the price of spruce sawn timber. Last year, the drop came to 7 percent, so the decline is now a little milder. The price of pine sawlogs will fall by 4 percent and that of birch logs by 2 per cent.

As for Finnish pulpwood prices, pine and birch are are expected to fall slightly, but a slight increase in the price of spruce is also expected. The better price development of pulpwood is explained by the fact that there is a demand for fiber in the production of pulp and board and, on the other hand, the supply of sawdust decreases.

Finland’s wood imports are expected to grow this year. The growth is explained by the economic dilemmas of the main importing country, Russia. Oil revenues have collapsed, the ruble has weakened and the price of imported timber has fallen. In January to March, imports to Finland increased by 6 per cent and the average price was 6 per cent lower than a year ago. Imports to rise nearly 10 percent this year to 12 million cubic meters.

The timber trade in Finland has clearly decreased in the first half of the year. In January-April, trade shrank by a quarter year-on-year. The decline was greatest for pine, 28 percent (log and pulpwood combined). With spruce and birch, the drop was one fifth.

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