Demand is influenced by the number of housing starts in the United States, which was even lower than anticipated in the first quarter.
Just when oversupply resulting from the big storm of January 2007 was ending in Sweden and Central Europe, the storms that swept across Germany and Austria in January and March 2008 brought lots of new roundwood to market. Although storm damage this year was not as widespread, in the sensitive market situation this has affected the Finnish sawmilling industry’s competitiveness.
When construction picks up in the spring, the sawmilling industry’s situation may improve slightly, but a dramatic change is not expected before demand recovers in the United States and Japan.
Over the long term the wood products industry’s competitive advantages are renewable raw materials, recyclable products and low emissions. The rising cost of energy increases the prices of other materials, while the sawmilling industry is practically self-sufficient in energy.
With the focus of consumption shifting to renewable raw materials, sizable new markets will open for the wood products industry. Competitive advantages must be built over the long term by developing new products and services that offer value added. The Finnish wood products cluster has started a joint project to devise a research and development strategy. This work will be completed during the summer.
For additional information, please contact:
Aila Janatuinen, Manager, Wood Products Industry Issues, tel. 358 9 132 6670, email@example.com