European timber and panel consumption still languishing - UN

6 December 2013

Sawn timber and wood-based panel consumption in Europe is still languishing compared to Russia and North America, according to a new UN report.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) latest update on forest products consumption shows sawn timber consumption last year was 2.9% down on 2011, while for wood-based panels the reduction was 0.8%.

This contrasts with growth of 7.1% and 1.6% respectively in North America and 3% and 2.5% in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The UNECE said building permits in Europe fell 57% between 2006 and 2013, with the value of residential construction expected to fall this year before a slight increase in 2014.

“While a short- or mid-term recovery is unlikely in Europe’s construction sector, the current focus on policies for reducing carbon emissions could lead to increased use of wood in construction,” it said.

“In other words, there’s hope within the wood products sector that wood will increase its share of raw materials used for construction because of its low carbon footprint, utility and natural beauty.”

The UNECE figures show a large growth of forest product consumption and production in Turkey, with the country now Europe’s fourth largest consumer of sawn softwood and particleboard.

Turkey also produces and consumes more MDF than any other European country.