For many European sawmills the time after the financial crisis has led to dramatic changes in terms of deliveries to various markets. The reason is of course the collapse of the European construction which quickly lowered the consumption of lumber by 10's of millions of cubic meters. In early 2007, Sweden and Finland exported a total of about 375,000 m³ of pine lumber per month to the largest markets in Europe. At midyear 2016, the figure is about 200,000 m³, that is an almost halving of the volume to Europe. Meanwhile, monthly deliveries to North Africa increased from about 150,000 m³ to 350,000 m³, in other words more than a doubling of the volume.
"You will be impressed by how quickly the sawmills redirected deliveries from Europe to non European countries," says Jenny Wessung, CEO of research firm Woodstat. It is not only North Africa that has seen a dramatic increase in lumber import. Saudi Arabia received a total of approximately 25,000 m³ per month from Sweden and Finland in early 2007 and now receives about 65,000 m³ per month, representing an increase of 160%. However, many other countries are now starting to import lumber from Sweden; for example South Korea, India and Taiwan. The biggest increase in Asia has occurred in the export to China where we see dramatic changes!
China's government is now focusing on increasing buildings with wood and this is of course a great opportunity for Swedish lumber with its high quality. The Swedish export to China is now at about 60,000 m³ per month and the trend line increases rapidly. Swedish and other European sawmills are now also gaining market share in Japan, which is a very big lumber importer in the region. Russian figures are included in Europe and Russia totally dominates as European exporter.
Europe's market share in the Japanese lumber market is now at a record level, and import from Sweden increased by 22% during the first seven months of 2016. The lumber market in the United States is improving continuously now, and everything indicates that import from Europe will increase in the future in line with increased housing construction. Of course this opens opportunities for Swedish lumber.
About Woodstat Since 2007 Woodstat delivers comprehensive statistics and analysis to sawmills, forest owners and banks across the world. Woodstat publishes approximately 400 issues of the newsletter "Market News" every year. The Market News are concise and contain the latest market statistics for the manufactured lumber product industry. Woodstat's charts collection is available at www.woodstat.com and contains hundreds of relevant diagrammatic data for anyone working in the wood or forest industry.