With more competitive sawlog costs, the lumber industry in Germany and other European countries has been expanding its export sales in 2019, according to Wood Resources International.
Historically, Germany has been a net exporter of softwood logs, but since 2009 the country has almost doubled import volumes, while exports have only grown modestly.
In 2018, softwood log imports were slightly higher than they were in 2017, reaching 8.3 million cubic meters (a new record high).
Just two countries, Poland and the Czech Republic, together accounted for almost two-thirds of the import volume to Germany.
Log imports from Norway and Estonia fell substantially in 2018 from 2017, while Poland and the Czech Republic increased their shipments, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Many central European nations, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, France and Slovakia are hampered by large volumes of storm-damaged trees and beetle-infested forests. As a result, it is very likely that Germany will reverse its pattern and become a net log exporter again in 2019. During the first four months of 2019, export volumes were up 61% as compared to the same period of 2018.
The oversupply of logs in Germany is most likely to result in a continuation of the downward trend for log prices in the country.