Timber Market Review 2022

2022 has seen unprecedented global turmoil following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in February.

The incredible Ukrainian resistance and fight back together with an increasingly unified and co-ordinated Western response to Russian tyranny has begun to bring some stability back into an uncertain world.

This week the IMF has warned that we are heading into a period of “greater uncertainty, higher economic volatility, geopolitical confrontations, and more frequent and devastating natural disasters – a world in which any country can be thrown off course more easily and more often”.

This uncertainty has significantly reduced demand for timber in the UK and in particular sawn timber. Sawmill yards are full, and orders are scarce, coupled with rapid rises in operating costs this has brought log prices down from the highs of £120t delivered in spring 2021 to £70t delivered in autumn 2022.

The sudden and dramatic slowdown in sawmill production has reduced supplies of woodchip and sawdust to board mills and the renewable energy markets forcing them to increase intake of small roundwood.

This has led to a run on small roundwood stocks and as we go into winter there is little or no roadside stock of small roundwood or energy wood, competition to buy is increasing and there are signs of price movement for lower grades of timber.

Firewood prices have also started to steadily increase with 25% increases being seen over the year and increasing competition to buy stock that comes available.  Throughout 2021 and early 2022 firewood prices had been stable at £65 to £75 per tonne delivered, this autumn this has steadily increased with prices of £85 to £95 per tonne being reported locally. Further south prices of £100 plus are now being achieved.

In the short term the future seems bright for energy wood and firewood. The upward trend for prices is getting stronger as seasonal demand increases. If you have shelter belts and mixed broadleaved woodlands now is the time to consider getting them licensed for thinning or if there is diseased ash clearfelling.

For further information contact Oliver Combe

Tel: 07771 958975

Email: oliver.combe@stephenson.co.uk


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