Sweden: Softwood lumber exports jump on booming UK and Egypt demand

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In March 2014, Sweden has exported 1.025 million cbm of softwood lumber, as much as in February. Compared to March 2013 this represents a 2.7% increase. In the first three months of 2014, Swedish sawmills have exported about 3 million cubic meters of planed and sawn lumber, 8.9% more than in the same period last year.

Europe in particular has driven up Swedish exports. Nearly two-thirds of the total amount has been delivered to European countries. Overall, total exports to Europe have increased by 11%, while shipments to the EU countries rose by 12%. The driving force behind this development is unmistakably the UK. The country is already the main buyer of Swedish softwood lumber and has increased its imports by 19% in the first quarter. Denmark and the Netherlands, two other major European consumer countries, have also increased their imports significantly. Germany is currently the third largest purchaser of Swedish lumber, with a 3.3% yoy rise.

In Africa, Egypt has purchased 55% more Swedish softwood lumber. The other two major African customer countries are Algeria and Morocco, though with a decline in imports of Swedish lumber by 11%, and 14% respectively.

The Asian market has in contrast to Europe and Africa shrank in the first quarter. Exports were lower by 3.4%. The main reason is the declining Japanese market, with less imports by 11.6% on a yearly basis. Also exports to Saudi Arabia dropped by over 20% as compared to the first quarter of 2013. These two negative developments could not absorb very well the rapid growth in China.

Not only the amount but also the average value of the Swedish softwood lumber exports has increased. In March, the average export value was 1980 SEK (~ 218 EUR) per cbm. This represents a surge by 12.3% over March 2013. Throughout the first quarter, the average price was 1,951 SEK (~ 215 EUR) per cbm, and thus 8.9% more than in the same quarter of 2013.

Country I-III 2013
(1.000 cbm)
I-III 2014
(1.000 cbm)
UK 553.0 659.3 19,22%
Egypt 199.2 308.8 55,02%
 Germany 239.1 247.0 3,30%
Norway 208.2 218.6 5,00%
Denmark 175.4 208.4 18,81%
Netherlands 186.5 205.5 10,19%
Japan 225.0 199.0 -11,56%
Algeria 150.9 133.8 -11,33%
China 80.6 118.2 46,65%
Belgium 71.1 92.3 29,82%
France 104.5 90.0 -13,88%
Morocco 103.7 89.3 -13,89%
Saudi Arabia 91.6 72.8 -20,52%
USA 43.8 50.0 14,16%


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