Germany Wood Market Partly Benefits From Crisis – Firewood Prices Rise – UW GROUP

Germany Wood Market Partly Benefits From Crisis – Firewood Prices Rise

According to German media reports, because more people are using firewood during the energy crisis, prices are also rising in Rhineland-Palatinate. The situation is different for sawn timber, which is less in demand in the construction industry due to a low leve.

“Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, market uncertainties arose, which also had an impact on the construction sector and thus ultimately on the purchase of logs,” says Wolfgang Schuh, Managing Director of the Forest Owners Association Rhineland-Palatinate in Bad Kreuznach.

Demand and prices rise
According to the Forest Owners’ Association, 2022 saw price increases between 50–100 percent for firewood – and that is only the price of forestry companies. As a result, prices for the end consumer are rising even more. “Rising energy prices are driving demand for alternative fuels including firewood,” says Klaus Dunkel, Sales Manager of Landesforsten Rheinland-Pfalz. For firewood from state forests, the minimum price for the new season has increased by 23–36 percent: from 55 euros per fixed meter to 68 or 75 euros respectively.

Prices for log wood, i.e. unprocessed tree trunks, developed steadily in private forests 2022 with a slight downward trend, says Schuh. Prices for beech and oak increased. In the case of state forests, the price of wood 2022 increased on average by 39 percent compared to previous years, with industrial and firewood included.

In recent years, wood prices had fallen sharply due to damage caused by bark beetles and droughts – according to the Forest Owners Association, they fell between 2018 and 2021 by 50 percent. From 2021 on, an increase was recorded, which had partly reached a level of 2017 at the beginning of this year.

Firewood theft also increases
Criminals have apparently also noticed the increased attractiveness of firewood. “The number of individual cases that have become known here is greater than in previous years,” says Dunkel. Wolfgang Schuh of the Waldbesitzerverband also expects an increase in thefts, although the development is statistically difficult to map. In particular, theft of small quantities of wood is often not reported.

Bad business in the construction industry
The uncertainties mentioned by Schuh as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are reflected in a decline in demand from the sawmill industry, it was said, with two thirds of demand from the sawmill industry coming from the construction sector. Meanwhile, high inflation, higher key interest rates and the resulting mortgage interest rates are causing the construction industry to do worse. For example, the sawmill and timber industry recorded a drop in demand from the construction sector and a quarter of a fall in prices between May and October of this year, reports the German Sawmill and Wood Industry Bundesverband (DeSH).

The sawmill industry had recorded a sharp increase in demand and price. According to DeSH, the reasons for this were “Corona special effects, a high demand in the construction sector and for renovation work as well as high international demand”. “In view of the current economic situation and the expected recession in the coming year, it is up to politicians to create strengthening instruments and reliable framework conditions,” said DeSH Managing Director Julia Möbus.

Prices for 2023 still uncertain
When it comes to the outlook for price developments in the coming year, the development of the war in Ukraine, energy prices and associated inflation and interest rates is crucial for both construction and firewood, Wolfgang Schuh said. Construction activity depends on this, and timber prices are expected to be stable for the coming year. “The sharp rise in industrial and firewood prices will weaken slightly at a high level,” it said.

“The prices for hardwood will rise by about 50 percent, driven by the price increase for firewood,” says Klaus Dunkel of the Landesforsten. Needle industrial timber is also expected to increase by 30 percent, while deciduous timber is expected to increase from 20 to 35 percent, the report said.

Together with Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, with an area of 840 000 hectares, is one of the most wooded federal states. Forests account for 42 percent of the land.

Energy crisis and construction slump:  Wood prices fluctuate in Hesse

While the price of firewood rises, it falls for sawn timber. The timber industry in Hesse complains about growing uncertainties and demands fewer legal hurdles.

Kassel/Friedrichsdorf The demand is huge and the prices for firewood are rising rapidly. For sawn timber, however, they sink again. The timber markets have developed turbulently up and down in the past two years. We have rarely experienced such volatile price and volume developments and sales trends,” says Christian Raupach, Managing Director of the Hessian Forest Owners Association.
At the same time, demand for firewood is increasing dramatically due to rising energy prices. Prices have skyrocketed,” says Raupach. The price for beech firewood, for example, is higher than that for beech industrial wood. “Beech industrial wood, which normally goes into the pulp industry, actually no longer exists, and that only goes to the firewood market. “Split firewood at the dealer or at the hardware store currently costs about 400 euros per room meter.

“But since next winter is expected to be even more difficult in terms of gas supply, we expect demand for firewood to rise again next summer. “

A price increase for firewood is also reported by the state authority Hessen Forst. Prices for firewood from deciduous and softwood have risen between 70–100 percent, says press spokeswoman Michelle Sundermann. Hardwood such as beech and oak have become more expensive by 30 to 50 percent compared to the previous year. Prices for softwood are largely stable.

“Overall, wood prices have developed very positively. However, the proceeds are also necessary to invest in reforestation and to make forests fit for the climate crisis,” Sundermann explains.

According to Sundermann, the state authority expects a stable to slightly rising price development in the coming year. This depends on many factors, including energy costs, wage increases, construction interest rates and the construction economy as well as economic development in Germany and worldwide. The importance of sustainable building with wood, the decommissioning of forest areas and the associated scarcity of wood are also influencing factors.


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