Ukraine war to trigger fresh wave of timber price rises

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
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Trade body Timber Development UK is warning the market to brace for a fresh wave of price volatility in the wake of a call to ban ‘conflict timber’ from Belarus and Russia.

Structural ply supplies to be hit
Structural ply supplies to be hit

It warns the war in Ukraine will directly hit supplies of Russian Siberian Larch and wood used in joinery such as birch plywood or oak.

In a market report for this year, the timber body said there have been indications that sanctions are likely to extend to restrictions on the import of timber from Belarus and Russia under UK and EU Timber Regulations respectively.

The warning of another looming price shock comes after timber supply and demand finally stabilised following the impact of the pandemic in the last quarter of 2021.

The timber demand report said it would take time for existing stock that has already been imported to flush through the system, as many timber goods were ordered and processed months in advance of delivery.

It stated: “There will be stock on the ground considered ‘pre-conflict’. But going forward goods from Russia and Belarus will be classified as ‘conflict timber’ with some key products no longer being imported creating significant pressure in coming months until alternative sources or products can be found.”

Nick Boulton, Timber Development UK head of technical and trade policy, said: “A strong RM&I sector, a resurgent housing market and a construction industry looking to rapidly decarbonise led to unprecedented demand for timber in the UK last year.

“This all put significant pressure on price over the course of 2021, taking some specific products like structural softwood, OSB and US hardwoods to unprecedented levels.

“Despite these challenges, the past year has shown the strength and resilience of the timber supply chain which ensured material needs were met through record imports in 2021.

“I would like to say that we are moving back towards normality in 2022, however, the supply situation remains particularly tricky given continuing labour shortages and high fuel costs.

“Recent weeks have also seen the awful illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia which is likely to exacerbate existing supply and price pressures.”

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