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December 19, 2016

Swiss timber harvests decline by 7%; prices fall by 6% in 2015

Swiss timber harvests decline by 7%; prices fall by 6% in 2015

The Swiss timber market was impacted by the sudden rise of the Swiss franc in January 2015. Thus, in 2015 there were 4.6 million m3 of wood harvested, which is 7% less than a year before. The decrease was of 350,000 m3 of wood.

Sawlog harvest decreased the most, by 10%, from 2.313 million m3 to 264,000 m3. Pulpwood harvests declined by 7% or 488,000 m3, while wood fuel went down by 4% or 1.734 million m3. In 2015, the sawmills harvested around 1.82 million m3, or 2.5% less wood.

According to the forestry statistics and the forestry test network made by the Federal Offices for the Environment and Statistics Office in Switzerland, the wood from the Swiss forests experienced a significant decrease in the exports of raw wood.

The highest timber harvest volumes increased in the cantons of Bern with 808,000 m3 (-17%), Vaud with 436,000 m3, (-9%) and Zurich with 407,000 m3 (+ 2%). The private forests also experienced a decline in timber harvests, by 14%.

After the lifting of the franc minimum exchange rate in January 2015, the industry and the FOEN have taken special measures on the timber market, such as the initiative Schweizersholz, bringing forward young forest maintenance measures or support of the home character Schweizersholz, through the Action Wood Plan.

Thus, wood prices fell abruptly after the decision of the National Bank. According to the producer price index of the Federal Statistical Office, prices for raw timber fell by 6% in 2015, with the greatest reduction in pulpwood (-9%). The average timber revenue has fallen from 70 to 65 francs per cubic meter compared to last year.

The analysis was made by the Swiss Forestry Statistics, on 713 forest companies and the sample size of the test operation network rose to 160 establishments.

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