The industry managed to procure only about 7.4 million cubic metres of wood from private forests in January-October, which is 71% less than the amount purchased during the corresponding period of 2008.
January-October purchases of pine and spruce logs were down 63% from the corresponding period of the previous year, while birch log procurements decreased by 79%, pine and birch pulpwood by 76% and spruce pulpwood by 74% from January-October 2008.
The temporary tax break granted to timber sales revenue does not seem to have had much of an effect on timber sales activity. Transaction volumes are persistently low and sawmills in particular have experienced difficulties in securing sufficient quantities of logs.
One and a half months remaining to take advantage of tax break
Spruce log stumpage prices rose by three percent and pine log stumpage prices by two percent from last September. These logs now fetch some €46 per cubic metre on average. The average stumpage price of birch logs is now €36 per cubic metre.
The stumpage price of pine pulpwood decreased by three percent and the stumpage prices of both spruce and birch pulpwood were down two percent. Pine pulpwood now fetches €14, spruce pulpwood €18 and birch pulpwood €13 per cubic metre on average.
Demand for wood has picked up clearly towards the end of the year and forest owners still have one and a half months to take advantage of the 50% tax break on timber sales revenues. This tax break substantially increases the net income of timber sellers.
Availability of market information no obstacle to timber sales
In Finland, buyers and sellers of timber can avail of the best and most up-to-date market information. The volumes and prices of the previous week’s timber sales are published each Monday on a web service, which is maintained by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and is open to everyone. On average, it contains data on 85% of Finnish timber sales by volume.
In Sweden, comprehensive data on the volume and prices of timber sales is collected only once a year; in fact, no other country gets even close to the precision with which timber sales are monitored in Finland.
Anu Islander, Senior Advisor (Forestry),
Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 9 132 6678