Price increases accepted by sawnwood buyers in Italy

Sawn logs in heavy demand following absence of deliveries from Russia

German and Austrian sawmills have pushed through more price increases for sawn-softwood deliveries to Italy. This became possible after the delivery agreements concluded at the beginning of the year were fulfilled by suppliers by the end of February 2022 and partly only at the end of March and have thus expired. Short-term deliveries are the most abundant at the moment, however. Sawmills are giving confirmation of the latest prices until mid-May at the most, but in most cases the agreements only apply until the end of April.

Many Italian value-adders and resellers have accepted the prices recently quoted by sawmills, though this does not apply for the asking prices of considerably above €400/m³ green free delivered Northern Italy given in one or two sawmills’ pricelists for the assortments required by the majority of pallet and packaging manufacturers. Nevertheless, Italian brokering firms are reporting that the sawmills’ selling prices are meanwhile approaching the €400/m³ green free delivered mark in some instances. For side-cuts and squared timber (imballo morali), however, most of the quoted prices are still €340-370 €/m³ green free delivered Northern Italy.

Heavy demand for packaging and pallet assortments still exists in Italy at the moment. In Where cut-sizes for EPAL pallets are concerned, the deliveries from Belarus and Ukraine are absent in many cases. The further development in demand is assessed differently by suppliers, however. Whereas sawmills in particular are anticipating growing demand for sawn softwood in Italy, too, in the next few months, brokering firms are drawing attention to increasing sales risks. Delivery delays are occurring in the Italian machine-engineering sector, for example. This means that transport crates will not be produced either, at least temporarily. Signs of difficulties are also already emerging in pallet manufacturers’ particularly important sales to Italian tile manufacturers and papermills.

For the construction-timber assortments such as shuttering material and morali for building applications, selling prices are being quoted that now only differ slightly from those for pallet and packaging products. This also has partly to do with the fact that, at least with the roundwood used in Germany and Austria, hardly any differences exist in the sawnwood grades anymore. Demand for construction-timber assortments recently picked up again slightly. Demand had fallen temporarily in Italy. This is connected with the tax incentives for renovation and refurbishment. The “Superbonus” introduced in 2020 has been temporarily suspended, inducing some building contractors to put their projects on hold.

Similar to packaging and pallet material, slackening demand in the coming months is not being ruled out for construction-timber assortments either. Due to the general price increases for many products relevant to the construction industry, delays, and cancellations of building projects are already becoming apparent.

Italian planing works are already noticing the effects of the war in Ukraine. Due to the absence of deliveries of sawn spruce and larch logs from Russia, many central European suppliers find themselves facing increasing requests from Italy....

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