Small roundwood has been the saviour of many standing sales during 2015 as demand here, driven in part by the growing biomass sector, has kept prices high, which in many cases has helped to balance out the fall in log prices. Unfortunately there are now signs in the north at least, that price is beginning to come under pressure, particularly for those board producers who rely on a high proportion of export sales to keep their plants busy.
The good news with all of the above is that, unlike the last time our industry suffered a downturn, there is good overall demand for wood products as construction is going well. We have been going through a period of readjustment of prices during 2015 as the domestic industry attempts to align its prices with those of imported wood products, and as all but the very youngest of those in our industry know, this is simply part of the normal cyclical nature of prices as a result of the world trade in wood. Domestic prices have now reached a level at which they are competitive with imports, and although the next few months are likely to be flat as we get through the winter, once construction picks up again in the Spring we would expect demand and price to strengthen once again.
What is vital now is that wherever possible the woodland owners who have benefited from the record returns of recent times continue to support the timber industry at the reduced price levels we are now experiencing, so that we all continue to have a vibrant sector for the future.