France: auctions reveal record sale volumes of hardwood; prices on the rise

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À peine 1% d'invendus dans le feuillusThe conclusion is clear. The first quarter of 2014 has just ended and tensions of wood purchases in France remain alive. In a large region of north-east France, the auctions registered record levels of timber trade volumes: 'Never seen in many years', as a buyer said. 

From seven auctions organized by ONF (France's National Office of Forests), during February and March, six of them ended with an unsold rate of 1%. All species and all assortments have a very high demand. Prices continue to rise, particularly in oak and especially in small wood where annual increases are between 20% and 30% depending on the region and sales (see table below and Fordaq Auction Timber Results here).

'This increase is incomprehensible, because we can experience a lack of wood along the roadside. I thought the purchases were tensions ease at the beginning of the year. This is not the case and the log market, completely disconnected from the timber, may have serious consequences in the coming months.' Hervé Marsolat (Marsolat sawmill ) believes that if this situation continues, some mills will close for lack of wood, others could disappear due to lack of profitability. 'The year 2014 will bode ill, especially as the ONF announced marketing cuts!'

Oak price developments in France's Jura Region
Public sales Courlaoux-39 forest
In euros/m3; over bark; roadside
Volume 15.03.12 11.12.13 13.03.14 Change 11.12.13/13.03.14
1m3 48 78 108 + 38%
1,5 m3 81 115 134 + 16,5%
2 m3 108 140 152 + 8,5%
2,5 m3 126 159 166 + 4,4%
3 m3 141 176 177 + 0,05%
3,5 m3 156 189 187 - 1%

Source: Robert Wood pour Fordaq

Franche-Comté region; according to ONF
Volume March 2013 March 2014 Change 2013/2014
< to 1,5 m3 89 115 + 29%
1,5 to 2 m3 85 (1) 130 + 53%
2 to 2,5 m3 114 140 + 22,8%
Average price 96 129 + 34,3%

(1) confirmed results by ONF

Beech prices in Jura region
In euros/m3; over bark; roadside
  Dec 2012 Mars 2013 Dec 2013 Mars 2014 Change 03-2013/03-2014
Average price 53 52 60 59 + 13,5%

Source: ONF Franche-Comté

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