Reduced production in Scandinavia, growing demand in other markets and log shortages are all contributing to accelerating prices, bringing an end to the long price depression.

Mark Plews, managing director of UCM Timber plc, said redwood prices had risen by about £15/m3 since the start of 2006 and predicted another £15/m3 growth in the next six months. “I would not be surprised if prices went up by another 15-20% in the next 18 months” he said.

“Nobody has a problem with rising prices, as long as the prices are realistic, You have to give the customer a chance to pass on the increase.”

Charles Hopping, chairman of Hoppings plc, said there had been a 20% growth in prices being quoted by shippers between the first and third quarters, depending on grades. He said some sizes, such as 50x150mm, were in short supply.

“The one thing that does worry me is UK demand is not sufficient to justify that sort of price increase,” he said.

Nigel Paines, softwood director at Continental Wood Products, does not expect to see any improvement in supply until this time next year. “There are so many cubic metres missing from stock in everyone’s yards,” he said.

Andrew Howarth, chairman and managing director of Howarth (Timber Importers) Ltd, described the price increases as “long overdue” and believed the trend would continue for the next 9-12 months, while Thorogood Timber plc reported a £10/m3 growth in high quality redwood prices, but cited availability as a concern.