Timber price rises, driven by bad weather epidemic

American demand for European softwood has risen dramatically as a result of storms that barraged the country.

Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma, and Maria, devastated the U.S., becoming three of the five most costly hurricanes the nation has ever endured. In January of this year, storms continue to ravage parts of the American continent.

The sheer scale of rebuilding that America is having to do has put the European timber market under pressures it cannot cope with, and as a result, the mills have increased prices on the limited supplies they do have. That, of course, affects us in the UK, too.

Glue line changes in the plywood regulations have also caused a rise in price. The Timber Trade Federation is making an effort to stem the supply of substandard materials from China into Britain.

This means the Chinese mills that are having to adhere to new regulations have seen their manufacturing costs rise, and that has been passed on to their customers.

Plywood has also been affected in the same way European softwood has. As the United States struggles to rebuild, and a bitter winter has made itself felt, Americans demand for the material has risen significantly.

This U.S. demand, combined with the effects of stricter regulations, has resulted in the price increases we’re seeing at the moment. Those increases are set to continue into the second quarter of the year.

Factors likely to influence the price of plywood include a shortage of logs in Indonesia due to waterlogged forests, and the permafrost not melting in the Baltic states. Again, as exterior plywood demand continues to rise, prices follow suit.

In Britain, the cost of MDF and MFC has risen sharply, with price hikes taking effect from 1 February. The amount that rates have risen varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it illustrates – if nothing else – just how confident manufacturers are in the market for their products.