Finnish sawn timber exports decline 6%

26 November 2012

Finnish sawn timber exports declined almost 6% to 4.2 million m3 in January-August, compared to the same period in 2011.

Statistics released by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) show sawn timber production reduced by 3% to 7 million m3, while plyood output decreased 4% to 760,000m3.

The forest industry purchased 20.6 million m3 of timber in January-September, up 15% compared to the same period in 2011. Timber sales were boosted by storms in the early part of the yer, but the pace levelled in the third quarter.

FFIF reiterated earlier warnings that log prices are high relative to the current market, which was eroding the industry's ability to compete on export markets.

"The competitive ability of the Finnish forest industry is being tested to the extremes by market conditions and the constant rise in costs," said FFIF director-general Timo Jaatinen.

"Finland must retain a stronger competitive position than our rival countries, as this is the only way to ensure that forest industry operations remain viable in our country."

FFIF said the EU's Sulphur Directive remained the biggest threat to the Finnish forest sector. The legislation, it added, was set to add at least €200m costs annually when it comes into force in 2015.

"If next year's budget negotiations don't come up with a way to fully offset the extra costs, the future competitiveness of the Finnish forest industry will be under severe threat," added Mr Jaatinen.