In the first half of 2020, Germany exported almost half more softwood logs than in the same period of the previous year. The increased volume is largely due to deliveries to only one country: China.
From January to June Germany exported 4.2 million cubic meters of softwood logs. Compared to the first half of 2019, this means an increase of 43%. The increased exports are mainly due to the high amount of damaged wood in Germany.
The log market in Germany has been extremely volatile in the first half of 2020, with high demand from the export market and a tight supply of fresh green logs. When the coronavirus pandemic forced sawmills to close in March, domestic demand for sawlogs fell and the price increases seen earlier in the quarter reversed – resulting in both domestic and export prices falling.
Before 2018, German logs had virtually never been shipped outside of Europe. But the infestation has sent prices for German spruce spiraling down to 45 to 50 euros ($53-$59) per cubic meter, half pre-2018 levels. Asian buyers, however, have not been put off and since 2018, log exports from Central Europe to the region have become a new growth area.
Almost half of all German softwood exports went to China
China received almost half of the total export volume: with 2.09 million cubic meters in the first six months, and a rise of 112% in exports. With 903,000 m3, 11% more went to Austria than in the first half of 2019. Belgium (438,000 m3; -1%) completes the list of the top 3.
German softwood log exports also increased to all other countries, for example to Sweden (117,000 cubic meters; +22%), the Czech Republic (108,000 cubic meters; + 8%) or Luxembourg (87,000 cubic meters; +180%).