Softwood log prices start to decline in France

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At timber auctions in France, declining softwood log prices

With the weak construction sector in France, and despite the obvious lack of wood in forests in the Hexagon, the decline in French softwood log prices has begun. The recent auctions organized in the fourth quarter this year already confirm this trend.

In the Massif Central (southern France), at a private auction held on October 31, 2014 by Agefor (France's Association of Forest Owners and Anatef (France's National Association of Independent Foresters), prices for softwood fir and spruce were down 10% compared to same sale organized this spring. However, unsold volumes remained very low (7% of volumes).

The downward trend was less pronounced in the east of France. But it is now clearly visible according to results in an ONF (France's National Office of Forests) major sale (Doubs) on 18 November 2014. For the first time in 2 years, reduced prices were registered for spruce and especially for fir; -3% on average compared to two months ago (see table below).

However prices remain sustained in eastern France. Fir (dimension: 2 m3) sells now for 45 euros / m3 up in the Massif Central; in Jura region it is traded at 63 euros/m3. For spruce, the overmeasure of price in relation to fir is around 12%.

Etienne Renaud, president of the softwood union from Franche-Comté (N-E France) says: "This slight decline in prices is not sufficient in view of the alarming situation of the timber market." In fact, many softwood sawyers expect a difficult winter.

Debut of declining prices for fir in the east of France

Prices in euros per m3 under bark
  Levier (25) Champagnole (39) Levier (25)

Price evolution from September to November





1 m3 59,75 61,75 61,8 0%
1,5 m3 61,5 63 62,6 -0,6%
2 m3 63 64,5 63,25 -1,9%
2,5 m3 64,2 65,75 63,75 -3%
3 m3 65 66,5 64 -3,6%
3,5 m3 65,8 67 64,4 -3,9%
4 m3 66,6 67,75 64,60 -4,6%
Unsold volumes 6% 2% 4,9%  

Source : Public auctions organized by ONF in Franche-Comté, Robert Wood 2014

Click here to see results of other auctions in France

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