Advance data indicates that the volume of wood products industry exports was up 4%, while exports of pulp and paper industry products remained on the previous year's level.
The early part of the year was positive for the forest industry, but the European financial crisis depressed the industry's production volumes towards the close of the year. The price of timber was higher than the long-term average and timber sales picked up pace in summer and towards the end of the year. The prices of energy and emission allowances decreased in the latter half of the year as a result of the economic crisis.
“The forest industry's products count among Finland's most significant export articles and they are central to the maintenance of national prosperity,” says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. “It is therefore of primary importance that Finland provides the forest industry with good operating prerequisites.”
“Implemented collective bargaining solutions bring industrial peace for the forest industry and its logistics chain. We must, however, ensure that the domestic cost level does not get out of hand in future,” Jaatinen stresses.
“The decision to amend the energy tax refund mechanism at the beginning of 2012 was good for the competitiveness of the forest industry. It is important that this lighter energy tax burden is not cancelled out with the introduction of new taxes to balance State finances. The competitiveness of an industrial sector, which creates employment and growth, must be looked after also in difficult times,” Jaatinen says.
Growth in wood products industry, while the pulp and paper industry remains level with the previous year
The value of Finland's pulp and paper industry exports in 2011 remained level with the previous year. An estimated 6.7 million tonnes of pulp was produced, which is around the same as in 2010. The estimated aggregate paper and paperboard production volume was 11.3 million tonnes, down about 4% from 2010.
Sawn timber production increased 7% from the previous year to about 10 million cubic metres. Advance data indicates that exports of all wood products industry articles were up about 4%.
New innovations lead the forest industry of the future
Several new forest industry products and innovations have been published over the past year. The production of microfibril cellulose, for example, progressed into the pre-commercial stage and the first biorefinery investments are being launched.
Demand for forest industry products will increase in the future, as consumption of non-renewable materials will be replaced with use of renewable and recyclable products.