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Wood market in Austria: Prices for firewood are calming down
[Nov. 15, 2023]

Although the economic situation and thus the demand for wood is somewhat subdued this year, the industry expects the market to revive again in the fall and winter.

Wood prices in Austria are lower than last year, but at a good level. Companies are increasingly specializing.

Economic performance in Austria is declining. The Austrian Institute for Economic Research (Wifo) expects the construction industry to decline by 1.8% in the third quarter of this year. This has repercussions for forest management and the timber market. There is currently good demand for sawlogs in the wood industry. The price reductions in early summer - in June roundwood prices were a quarter lower than at the beginning of the year - and the low quantities of damaged wood in the summer months severely slowed wood production. As a result, the wood stocks in the factories have shrunk.

In addition, there was no excessive accumulation of damaged wood in the summer and the regular wood harvest in the farming environment takes place in the cold season anyway. Since the beginning of October, there has been a slight upturn in demand with moderate price increases on the sawlog market. The main range is currently spruce, BC quality, strength class 2a+ at a price of around €90 to sometimes €95 per cubic meter. For the rest of the quarter, prices are expected to tighten and thus a price increase of five to seven euros. A significant price increase for sawlogs to the previous year's level cannot currently be implemented, as the overall economic conditions have deteriorated massively.

The firewood market in Austria has calmed down

A year ago we had a turbulent development due to the massive increase in energy prices. At that time, we had to explain to consumers that we could not produce stovewood just-in-time because it required a drying process, explained Karl Dietachmair, chamber director of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Agriculture (LK OÖ). According to the chamber director, there is enough firewood available and sales prices remain pleasing and there have been no panic purchases.

The wood prices in all other segments are ten to 30% lower compared to the previous year, but are still at the level of the ten-year average. Franz Kepplinger, chairman of the Upper Austrian Forest Association, sees a stable price situation for hardwood, especially for the oak and ash tree species. The coming months should be used for felling and marketing because demand is usually best at the beginning of the hardwood season, said Kepplinger. Timely coordination with the forest helper is also required in the fall.

Source:  wochenblatt-dlv.de