The European timber sector is facing challenging market conditions, but responding with its biggest marketing and promotional efforts ever.

This was the message from the two-day Timber Market conference in Karlstad, Sweden, at the end of November.

The annual event attracted around 1,500 people from throughout the Swedish timber, forestry and shipping sectors to discuss key industry issues. There was also strong representation from foreign importers and agents, including the UK.

The market discussion on the second day, chaired by Mikael Westin of the Swedish timber association, Svenkst Tra, included speakers from Sweden, Germany, Holland, France, Japan and Finland, with the UK represented by Neil Donaldson, chairman of James Donaldson & Sons.

Generic timber promotion campaigns in the Nordic countries, France and the UK (in the form of wood. for good. and Nordic First) were credited with raising awareness about the potential of timber.

Market forecasts from Germany and Japan were bleak. Others described current conditions as tough, but indicated the situation would improve next year. Mr Donaldson, however, said that against a background of ‘flat’ demand in the UK, the industry should be wary of pushing for strong price increases.

  • TTJ will carry a full report on the conference on January 19.