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European panel sector review and trends in 2004

April 2, 2005

European panel sector 

In assessing developments in the wood-based panels markets for 2004 and the first months of 2005 during their General Assembly on 10 March 2005 in Brussels, the European Panel Federation (EPF) members concluded that, in particular, the particleboard industry continued its recovery throughout 2004.  

Demand for particleboard proved to be exceptionally dynamic, says the EPF, reflected by a 5% increase in particleboard consumption.  

Exports recorded a 13% increase and provided a bigger trade surplus.  

The top five producers (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK in decreasing order of importance and representing 65% of the total production) accounted for nearly 83%

of the total additional output and showed growth rates ranging between 3% and 10%.  

The MDF industry, says the EPF,  performed according to the expectations during 2004 with an increase of 5.7% in production, while consumption improved better than expected by 10%.  

OSB (Oriented Strand Board) output hit a new record in 2004 climbing 14%, while consumption is estimated to have expanded by about the same absolute amount.  

The year 2004 thus proved to be better for the panel industries than previous years and this has continued into the first months of 2005.  

However, higher raw material costs continues to represent a major concern for the wood-based panels industry, especially in terms of wood resources and resins.  In addition energy and transportation costs are increasing and this is affecting production costs and margins.

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