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Lumber prices fall sharply in Austria
[Aug 1, 2023]

The wood market is currently experiencing a clear downward trend - albeit from a high level. Both sales and prices are falling, even when warehouses are full. One of the reasons is the decline in the construction industry, where less is being invested in private residential construction.

In the last ten years, the price showed a downward movement - until the corona pandemic. From then on, prices developed well above the long-term average. Now the curve is pointing down again. The price of sawlogs used in the construction industry is now again below the long-term average.

Hope for a turnaround

Industry representatives suspect that the low prices could initiate a turnaround in the construction industry. The timber industry is clearly feeling the lower demand, which is also due to the increased interest rates, as Rudolf Ortner, owner of the sawmill in Tragwein, confirms. Because while efforts were made there in recent years to be able to process all orders accordingly, they are now trying to employ all employees.

Imports despite large supply

Despite the large supply, wood is also imported to Austria from the Czech Republic. On the one hand, however, imports are declining, according to Ortner, and on the other hand it is important to keep the transport routes short for the "climate protection building material" wood. Depending on the location, it could make more sense to buy wood from the Bohemian Forest instead of from another federal state, says Ortner.

Firewood stable - pellets more expensive

The price fluctuations for firewood have never been as great as for logs. As in the previous year, the price here is between 150 and 190 euros per cubic metre. Christian Rottensteiner, wood market consultant for the Upper Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, explains this by saying that the Upper Austrian stove wood farmers had to produce more expensively and calculated accordingly. If they were to lower the prices now, they would be left at their own expense.

The price of pellets increased significantly last year and will continue to be offered at a high price level. Rottensteiner says that less wood is currently being processed and accordingly there is less material for pellets. At the same time, the increased demand would also be reflected in the price.

Source: ooe.orf.at