EOS forecasts 2013 decline in timber demand

17 June 2013

European sawn softwood production and consumption is forecast to decrease in 2013 by 1.1% and 2.2% respectively, a large gathering of sawmillers in Vienna has heard.

Members of the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS), meeting for the EOS general assembly, also heard that sawn hardwood production was predicted to increase by 1.2% this year, despite demand forecast to decline by 2%.

"The European sawmilling sector continues to face challenging times," said the EOS.

"Market conditions have been challenging, apart from some exceptions, not really improving since the beginning of the first half of 2011."

The EOS attributed the situation to the general economic climate, low construction level activities, low consumer confidence and tight wood availability with high raw material costs.

Sawn softwood production declined by 4.5% in EOS countries to 75.7 million m3, with exports of logs to outside the EU hitting the results.

Romania and Belgium reported production growth (1.4% and 3.4% respectively), whereas Austria, Germany and Sweden all reported decreases ranging between 3.7-7.9%.

UK sawn softwood production comprised a 4.1% share of total EOS production, while the UK consumed 12.9% of the total production - third after Germany and France.

Sawn hardwood production in 2012 grew by 8.2%, with big variations from country to country. Volumes grew by around 5% in Austria, France and Italy, with 9% in Belgium and an even bigger increase in Romania.

Romania remains comfortably the largest EOS sawmiller, producing 34.8% of EOS production.

Sawn hardwood consumption in 2012 increased 2.9% to around 6.4 million m3.

Romania is the biggest market for sawn hardwood with the EOS, consuming 21.4% of the total EOS consumption.