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Swedish Wood


Bright Future for Swedish Wood


The development in the Swedish sawmill industry looks positive for 2014. The domestic market is more buoyant. In Europe, building activity has bottomed and an increase can be discerned for 2014. Swedish exports to North Africa and the Middle East remain high and in China an increase in demand is expected. However, there are a few clouds on the horizon.


Development in the Swedish wood industry is moving towards better times. That was the general conclusion at the annual Timber Market (Trämarknaden) conference held in Karlstad recently. Timber Market is held in November each year to discuss the present situation and the forecasts for the coming year.


‘Yes – it looks brighter today compared to a year ago. Development has pointed gently upwards this past six months and is now displaying a steeper climb. The trade’s efforts in positioning Swedish wood products on an expanding market have contributed to this,” said Mikael Eliasson, director, Swedish Wood, a department of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.


During the Timber Market seminars it was remarked that exports to China, one of the most expansive markets, could be expected to double or treble over the coming year. With luck this figure could double once again during 2014. The UK market, Sweden’s largest export market, is developing well. This is partly due to the British government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, which makes it easier to buy a home with just a 5 percent deposit. Swedish exports account for roughly 50 percent of Britain’s wood imports. The Swedish market too, is developing favourably, with pressure on Swedish politicians to provide more housing.


That said, there are still factors which could have a negative effect on exports. In the wake of an internationally weakened economy, instances of protectionism are springing up on various markets.


“This is most obvious in Japan, where domestic wood production is not competitive on the home market. Various administrative tricks and incentives are used to stimulate companies and consumers into buying Japanese wood products. Another example is China, which still imposes a 14% import duty on wood products. These restrictions affect our sales on these markets,” said Mikael Eliasson.


The larger European production countries of Germany, Austria, Finland and Sweden are not expected to increase production significantly next year, which indicates that the present balance between supply and demand can be expected to remain.


“The strong Swedish krona is a big problem, being unfavourable for our sawmills and to all other export industry. Swedish sawmills depend on forestry management to deliver raw materials in pace with demand. The forest industry requires a continuous supply of raw material, and forestry management need to take long-term responsibility to ensure such supply,’” said Peter Eklund, chairperson at Swedish Wood.


About Timber Market (Trämarknaden):

Timber Market is an annual event held in Karlstad. Featuring figures from the past year, prognoses for the coming year and meetings between experts on the development of the forest industry. Participants this year:

• Peter Eklund, chairperson Swedish Wood and managing director Bergkvist-Insjön AB

• Mikael Eliasson, director Swedish Wood, Swedish Forest Industries Federation

• Björn Lindgren, trade economist at The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise talked about the Swedish market.

• Olle Granath, Byggmax, talked from the building materials and timber perspective.

• Magnus Niklasson, market analyst at Swedish Wood, presented a picture of the present sawn timber market.

• Cherif Sayed, Business Sweden, Egypt, ”Overview of Middle East’s economies in transition”

• Erik Eliasson, marketing manager at Norra Timber • Måns Johansson, managing director VIDA Wood AB, chairperson EOS (The European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry)

• Suzan Ljungemo, marketing manager Bergkvist-Insjön

• Arthur Selvig, marketing director Moelven Timber