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February 5, 2020

Finland’s forest industry output impacted by the global economic downturn

Finland’s forest industry output impacted by the global economic downturn

Out of the main product groups in Finland's forest industry, paper, board, lumber and plywood production volumes fell last year compared to 2018, when the international economic upturn intensified towards the end of the year. Instead, Finland set a new pulp production record was 8.32 million tonnes, according to the Finnish Forest Industries Federation's statistics.

The weakening of the global economy towards the end of the year reduced the production of Finnish mills in the main product groups of the forest industry. Annual production of paper fell by about 14 percent and paperboard by 3 percent from the previous year. Timber production declined by 4% and plywood production by 11%.

Instead, a new production record of 8.32 million tonnes was set for pulp production at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation's statistical history. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation has been monitoring the production volumes of the industry in a comparable form since 1989.

Towards the end of the year, pulp production growth also moderated. In October-December, production increased only by 0.3% compared to the corresponding period of 2018. Annual production recorded a 2.1 percent increase from the 2018 level.

Pulp is definitely a bright spot, even in the longer term. Pulp is increasingly used to replace, for example, plastic and high-end textiles, so demand will continue to grow in the future, says Timo Jaatinen, President of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The decline in the production of other main products is a clear indication that Finnish factories are involved in intensifying global competition. In the downturn, the competitiveness of the forest industry must be taken by all means, Jaatinen continues.

Paper production fell to 5.8 million tonnes, and went down in the production of both printing and writing papers and other paper such as hygiene papers. Last year, the paper production record reached 49 percent last year.

Last year, board production was 3.7 million tonnes, down 2.9 per cent on 2018 production. In October – December, paperboard production decreased by 3.0 per cent from October – December 2018 production.

Plywood production fell 11.2 percent year-on-year. October-December output was up 33.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

Last year's sawn timber production was 3.8 percent lower than in 2018 and was 11.4 million cubic meters. In October – December, production volumes fell by 13.9 per cent year-on-year.

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