Improved softwood-lumber demand in Switzerland
Since the beginning of April, Swiss softwood sawmills have shown a revival in demand from building companies and to a lesser extent from the pallet and packaging industry. However, in view of the positive figures for the Swiss building industry, such as the year-on-year rise of 12.5% in residential building approvals in the fourth quarter of 2011, a stronger revival in lumber demand had been expected in the first quarter, but the cold snap in February and the high level of building activity at the end of 2011 resulted in a slight decline in Swiss building business in the first quarter of 2012. Demand for softwood lumber only showed marginal growth from March onwards. Production at sawmills since then has therefore mostly reached the normal level of expanded single-shift operations. However, there are still bigger production cutbacks or short-time working in sawmills in western Switzerland.