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Finland: Timber sales almost back to normal in 2010

18 January 2011

Finland: Timber sales almost back to normal in 2010

Finnish Forest Industries Federation member companies purchased 33.2 million cubic metres of wood from private forests in 2010. The amount doubled from 2009 and bounced back to the long-term average.
The stumpage prices of some timber grades increased substantially. The total felling yield indicates that the purchases of all buyers from private forests came to some 45 million cubic metres in 2010.

Weather and tax breaks boost timber turnover
Timber sales got off to a sluggish start at the beginning of 2010, but livened up considerably as summer approached. The storms experienced towards the end of summer contributed to the increase in sales, especially in the worst affected areas. The closure of a temporary tax break also boosted supply as the year neared its end.
The year was a good one for timber harvesters, as the dry summer and normal winter weather facilitated harvesting operations.

Prices and volumes up substantially
Pulpwood and log purchase volumes both doubled from 2009, with log procurements rising to 14 million cubic metres and pulpwood purchases to 18 million cubic metres.
Last year, the average stumpage prices of softwood logs rose 1718%, birch logs 9%, pine and birch pulpwood 1115% and spruce pulpwood 2%. In December, pine logs fetched on average 52, spruce logs 53 and birch logs 39 per cubic metre. The average stumpage price of pine and birch pulpwood was 16 per cubic metre, while spruce pulpwood cost 18 per cubic metre.
Purchases for delivery, i.e. sales in which the forest owner takes care of felling and delivers the timber to a designated pick-up point, accounted for 17% of all timber sales; this figure is down from 21% in 2009. The total volume of these sales was 5.5 million cubic metres, 2 million cubic metres more than in the previous year. Three-quarters of these purchases targeted pulpwood batches.

More transparency for timber sales
The Finnish Forest Industries Federation started to compile and publish timber sales price data sorted according to felling type as of November 2010. Forest owners can now avail of price information, which is regionalised in more detail than before and presented separately for first thinning, other thinning and regeneration felling sites. Price data on small logs is also reported separately. All of this makes it easier to look up price information for different timber categories.
The publication of more detailed price information improves the transparency of the timber market and facilitates the decision-making of buyers and sellers alike.