Supply bottlenecks push up prices of European timber

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as a handful of other factors, are making certain timbers (particularly European oak) harder to come by. Prices are increasing as a result.”

If you have found it hard to get hold of European oak – and expensive, if and when you managed it – then rest assured: we’re all in the same boat.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU’s blanket ban on Russian and Belarussian imports, and disruptions in Ukrainian supply chains, are translating into major supply bottlenecks for European timber.

However, the war in Ukraine is not the only barrier to trade. Brexit, record high inflation, and a handful of other factors are all denting availability and pushing prices upwards. One importer recently told the Timber Trade Journal:

“There are other factors involved too in the European oak situation, besides war in Ukraine; the growing global appetite for wood fibre generally and particularly more demand from China. The Croatian authorities have also revised their log auction and allocation system, further disrupting supply. It’s the perfect storm.”

The result of these supply issues is major price hikes. In January this year, the price of European oak had risen 50% against April 2021. At least one major importer has reported a further 10% – 15% price rise since.

While European oak is the most obviously affected timber, it is far from the only one. Ash, Tulipwood, American white oak and others are also seeing notable price increases.

We believe that, intricacies of the timber trade aside, there is one important question that our customers should be asking: “what can I do about all this?”

At Quercus, we try hard to not pass on rising costs to our customers – but there is a limit to what we can absorb. As a result, we would suggest customers do one thing: consider trying new species of timber.

Not all timbers are equally difficult to source. Now is the perfect time to branch out and try timbers you may have overlooked. Quercus has the benefit of decades of experience working with timber of all types. We are always happy to discuss our customers’ needs with them, suggesting alternative timbers as and where possible.

In short, there is no getting around the fact that you may find it harder and more expensive to buy certain timbers. However, at Quercus, we will do everything we can to fulfil your needs at the best price possible, and offer you the benefit of our experience when it comes to picking alternatives.

If you would like to discuss your timber needs with us and see how we can help, please feel free to contact us on 0845 50 50 311.