Finnish timber sales slump

Published:  20 January, 2010

HELSINKI, FINLAND: Timber sales reached a record low in 2009 according to the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Sales of felled timber in 2009 were 21m cubic metres, down from 38.5m in 2008.

"Sawmills suffered from short supply of logs during 2009. The record-high timber prices, which occurred in 2007 during an entirely different overall economic situation, still affected price expectations. December's livelier sales activity lead to a slight improvement in this situation, although annual purchase volumes of pine and spruce logs were down 29% from the level achieved in 2008, while pulpwood purchases reduced by about half," said Anders Portin, senior vice-president of the federation.

• In the United States timber futures rose to the highest price in 17 months following mill shutdowns by North American processors, limiting supplies.

Some Canadian sawmills closed as the slumping U.S. housing market depressed demand for building materials amid the longest recession in seven decades. Cold temperatures also have slowed logging, curbing supplies. About half of Canada's output has been halted, said Gerry Van Leeuwen, an International Woods Markets Group vice president.

Timber futures for March delivery rose 80 cents, or 0.3%, to $253.80 for each 1000 board feet on the Chicago Board of Trade.

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