Auctions in France reveal rising demand and prices for fir and spruce

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Recent auctions organized in eastern France confirm that fir and spruce demand remains high and prices are on the same upward trend as in the last three months (April-June 2014). This is the conclusion drawn from the sale of 24 June (Lever, Doubs region) where the ONF (France's National Office of Forests) auctioned more than 100,000 m³ of fir and spruce. Proof of this trend is that a mixed lot fir-spruce roadside broke a record, by being negotiated at 103 euro/ m³ under bark, or about 85 euro/ m³ on foot. 

Regarding fir, the price increase in the second quarter of the year is between 2% and 3% depending on the unit volumes (see table below). Since November 2013, prices rose by 3% to 5% for trees of 2.5 m³ and more. For spruce, the average quarterly increase was 3.5%. 1 m³ logs on foot sell now at 65 euros/ m³ under bark (average prices), while those of 3.5 m³ cost 76 euros/ m³. 

While prices seem to start dropping in southern Germany, probably due to an influx from Slovenia, the pressure remains very strong on the French side. Alsatian sawyers and those from Vosges are taking their supplies from the Jura mountains and don't hesitate to put high prices on targeted assortments, which determines a high price competition with the Franche-Comté processors. 

In other French regions, demand is also well oriented but more as we go south, the more prices tend to fall. Spruce of 1 m³ which sells 65 euro/m³ on foot in the east, is only worth 55-60 euro in Rhône-Alpes and 45-50 euro/m3 in the Massif Central. 

The continuing price rise of the raw material fits in a timber market that doesn't satisfy completely the French sawyers. If the beginning of the year was satisfactory terms of volumes, some timber price increases in January 2014 didn't offset the price increases of wood in forests. "And in early July, the market is not up to our expectations," says Fabrice Chavin, an Jura sawyer.

        Fir prices still rising in Jura region

      Bulk price on foot and under bark (euro per )

  13/11/12 14/11/13 09/04/14 24-06-14
1 m³ 48,5 61 57,6 59,7
1,5 50 61,7 59,8 61,7
2 51 62,1 61,4 63
2,5 51,8 62,5 62,5 64,2
3 52,5 62,8 63,7 65
3,5 53 63 64,5 65,8
4 m³ 53,5 63,3 65,2 66,5

Source: Robert Wood; public auctions in Doubs et Jura

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