After announcing a ban on imports of wood products from Russia and Belarus in April, Estonia finally resisted the impact of the wood shortage, and announced in early June that it would ease logging restrictions on state-owned forests. This has increased Estonia’s harvestable area by nearly 25 percent. Finland is expected to increase its harvest by 3% annually over the next two years. Many European timber producing and importing and exporting countries have begun to take corresponding measures to fill the timber gap.

All these changes come from the chain reaction of the European continent’s cut-off of timber imports from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Common woods like oak, birch, beech, etc. are in short supply as everyone knows. For European countries, these three countries exported 8.5 million m of softwood to Europe in 2021, accounting for a quarter of the global timber trade.

Architects and designers are struggling to source wood for their projects, as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has stalled imports in the region, threatening inventories across the continent and in turn driving up prices.

In Europe, the cost of oak logs and birch plywood has more than doubled in the past few months, while structural lumber prices have risen by around 20% overall.

Sean Sutcliffe, co-founder of British furniture maker Benchmark, said: “Everyone is very concerned about their supply chain. Merchants, including us, have projects in their hands that cost a lot more than usual. The price to purchase, especially the birch plywood used in many of our projects has been unable to find a procurement channel.”

Danish design studio Space Copenhagen said: “Solid oak is now worth more than gold, and people even regard it as a futures store of value. Although suppliers and manufacturers can still deliver previously placed orders, in just a few months’ time. , everything will disappear.”

Most timber exports from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine go to the Baltic countries, but also to places like Germany and Finland, and for builders and furniture makers, the knock-on effect is being felt across Europe. Due to the severe shortage of oak, many merchants began to use British ash and American red oak for furniture production.

Changes in this supply chain have also affected countries and regions including North American countries, Brazil, Solomon, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana and other countries. People began to slowly discover that a large amount of tropical wood began to flow into European countries.

In the first four months of this year, UK imports of tropical plywood from Indonesia rose 25% to 13,900 tonnes. Imports of tropical sawn timber from Congo and Cameroon increased by 240% and 14% respectively year-on-year.

Consumption of parquet floors has increased in almost all European countries, according to figures released at the FEP Congress in Hamburg, Germany in June. The conference expects that the demand for European wood flooring will continue to grow in the second half of the year. As for oak (about 81.9%), which occupies the main material used in European wooden floors, drag is inevitable. In Austria and Germany sales of wood flooring products have been declining, not due to a shortage of orders, but due to a shortage of production materials that cannot be delivered.

The shortage of timber supply is expected to extend to all European markets in the coming months.

The post Mounting concern over European wood supply appeared first on Global Wood Markets Info.

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