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Swedish sawmills have not had such low stock levels in over 20 years. They have had to lie in order to be able to deliver, after they first stopped production when the pandemic struck in Europe and Sweden.

The Swedish forest industry continues to account for ten percent of Swedish merchandise exports, according to Statistics Sweden’s annual statistics. A rocket in this context is wood products from Swedish sawmills. Here, the export value increased by as much as eleven percent, according to Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna).

”We can state that the build-at-home trend is larger than a Swedish corona phenomenon. A strong housing market and construction trade in many parts of the world have benefited Swedish exports of wood products. We also have an expansive monetary and fiscal policy to thank for this, which has kept people’s purchasing power up,” says Kerstin Hallsten, chief economist at Skogsindustrierna.

”The sawmills had unexpectedly large deliveries to countries such as the USA and the UK throughout the autumn. First, the countries needed to catch up after a sharp decline in imports during the first months of the pandemic. But then they have continued to buy large volumes, often at high prices. I see it as a message of strength for the global wood products market and for Swedish wood products,” says Christian Nielsen, analyst in wood products at Skogsindustrierna.

Packaging materials have also been a good deal for the Swedish forest industry. As a result of the increased e-commerce, the Swedish paper and board mills’ production and deliveries of packaging materials increased by three percent in 2020. However, the negative development for graphic paper that has been going on for a long time was accelerated. Both production and deliveries fell by fifteen percent.

Alongside the USA and Europe, China has continued to grow as a market for the Swedish paper industry.

”Total exports to China rose by 16 percent, making the country the third largest buyer of Swedish paper and board. Already today, China is already the largest buyer of Swedish pulp,” says Katrin Heinsoo, analyst in pulp and paper at Skogsindustrierna.

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