Switzerland: Declining foreign trade with softwood lumber
Both imports of softwood lumber into Switzerland and exports by Swiss softwood-lumber sawmills in the first four months of 2012 showed year-on-year decline. At least the import figures issued by the Swiss federal statistics agency appear to confirm assessments made by several Swiss sawmills that import pressure has weakened slightly in the case of rough-sawn structural timber. Importers of rough-sawn lumber have therefore so far been able to profit to a lesser degree than the domestic sawmill industry from the year-on-year improvement in the business situation for the Swiss building industry in the first quarter of 2012. According to BFS figures, the import volume of 20,946 t of rough-sawn spruce and fir lumber in the period from January until the end of April showed year-on-year decline of 9.6%. Exports of rough-sawn spruce and fir lumber by the Swiss sawmill industry from January to the end of April 2012 were also well down on those for the equivalent period of 2011, with a minus of 17.8% to 29,642 t.