At a forecasted 89.925m m³, there is unlikely to be any significant change against last year in the sawn-softwood output in the countries covered by the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) in 2022. According to the figures published by 13 member and associated countries in the 2021/2022 EOS annual report, the growth achieved in the preceding years looks set to come to halt this year. In 2021, production had increased considerably more sharply than originally expected at 4.4%; the forecast given last year at the general meeting in Helsinki had been assuming growth of 2.9%.
After positive business in the majority of producer countries in the first few months of this year and, in some cases, a markedly higher output than last year, the prospects for the second half of this year have meanwhile become appreciably gloomier. Cost increases and material shortages have led to a slowing pace of business activity in many countries. Customers’ uncertainty about the business outlook has already been reflected in slacker demand for sawn softwood and value-added wood products since June as well as sharply declining selling prices recently.
At least as far as the middle of this year, the EU sanctions against wood imports from Russia and Belarus have not created any shortages on the western European sawn-softwood markets. The volumes under contracts concluded before the sanctions were adopted have largely been delivered in the meantime. in view of the levelling off in construction activity and an expected lower demand for wooden packaging and pallets, it remains to be seen to what extent the lack of imports from these two countries from the third quarter onwards will lead to an increase in demand from alternative suppliers from the ranks of the EOS member countries.