South-east traders highlight treatment and supply issues

6 February 2018

Timber availability and the need to improve treated timber specification were two of the hot issues under discussion at the first official meeting of the newly re-formed London and Southeast Timber Trade Association (L&SETTA).

The meeting, held in Tunbridge Wells on January 25, also saw PTG Treatments’ Steve Adams give an update on fire treatments.

A market discussion saw MBM Forest Products’ Stephen Sabine tell members that global market conditions for the key Swedish sawmilling sector were very good, with demand strong and timber prices increasing, but the availability of logs was preventing them fully capitalising on the situation.

Finland and the Baltics were also experiencing high log prices, affecting sawmill profitability. He said merchant customers were aware of the increasing cost of wood in the supply chain but they were finding it difficult to pass price increases on.

“I think log availability will start to bite now and I think there will be some real surprises in terms of price increases this year,” he added.

On the panel products front, MDM Timber’s Mark Cheriton said the Brazilian plywood industry was targeting increased supplies to North America, Central America and the Caribbean, with large volumes going to hurricane-hit areas.

“Now we are seeing plywood in short supply from Brazil,” he said. “The Brazilians are very bullish and they have lots of new friends from around the world and prices are on the up.”

Anything forward ordered, he said, was attracting “scary” price increases of 20-30%. Members heard that OSB and particleboard markets were also seeing high demand and price increases, with UK and Ireland OSB producers effectively sold out for 2018.