The small roundwood trade is variable across the country with some major users of fibre holding very high stock levels and consequently imposing some delivery quota’s, this is beginning to cause some issues in areas of the country where significant quantities of small round wood are being brought to the market by tree disease’s, notably along the East Coast where Red band needle blight is causing havoc amongst Pine crops and in the West P Ramorum is causing equal difficulty. However the gradually increasing demands of the biomass trade either for burning or pelletizing is having a growing influence in some areas of the country, especially in South Wales, Southern England and Northern Scotland. Sales of most panel products remains reasonably strong, but not across the board with export activity providing some relief to inventory levels, however for an industry so closely connected with construction most producers are very happy with their current position but cautious about the apparent disconnect between sales and the state of the economy. Export of small roundwood continues apace especially where there is an excess of volume in certain areas of the country. Small roundwood fencing in the south of the country continues to be a good market with many producers limited in the amount they can produce by timber availability rather than sales. The one flat market at the moment is firewood with many producers still holding high stock levels following a very mild winter, this has lead to a glut of supply with some merchants still holding roadside stocks of timber.
The biomass market is continuing to follow an erratic path of development with ongoing announcements about existing power plants or new developments that are either to convert to biomass or are to be constructed, only for this news to be followed with news of the shelving of some previously announced plans. However, construction is continuing apace with the Tullis Russell CHP plant at Glenrothes and the Iggesund CHP plant at Workington. Both of these plants will affect wood fibre flows as they come on stream.
In conclusion the market is very busy and prices for most timber products are at worst stable and in many instances starting to improve as high production levels begin to tighten the supply demand relationship.
Ashley Williams, Deputy Managing Director