Facts & Figures
Through its member federations and associated members, EOS represents some 35,000 sawmills in 12 countries across Europe (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland) manufacturing sawn boards, timber frames, glulam, decking, flooring, joinery, fencing and several other wood products.
Together they represent around 77% of the total European sawn wood output in a sector that has a turnover of around 35 billion EUR and employs about 250,000 people in the EU.
Following some challenging years across Europe in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, the recovery of its sawn softwood production continued in 2018 at a good pace. Demand was lively and price levels satisfactory.
Delivered volumes to East Asia (China and Japan) declined overall, but sale values rose overall. The US market was also positive in the first half, although less so in the second half. Overall, there trends varied across Europe in export volumes. Sweden and Finland saw shipments shrink in volume, although once more not in value, with Swedish exports doing particularly well on this score. Meanwhile, central European countries, such as Germany and Austria, saw exports increase in 2018 by more than 8%. These trends were linked to the fact that 2018 was characterized by high raw materials availability due to the widespread severe storms across Europe, particularly in Central Europe. Production increased partly because of this. In coming years it also looks as though supply of beetle-affected logs will increase due to climate change. How the industry adjusts is a major issue for softwood sawmills across Europe. Spruce, a highly sought after species, seems to be especially under stress in Central Europe due to increasing average temperatures.
Total production at EOS level (plus Italy and the UK) grew by 2% in 2018 to 86.5 million m3. With a production of 23 million m3 in 2018 (+4.3% vs 2017) Germany remains the largest sawn softwood producer within the EOS community. Sweden ranks second with 18.3 million m3 in 2018, with flat production. Finland remains the third largest producer with 11.8 million m3 (+1% vs 2017) ahead of Austria with 10.2 million m3 (+5.7% vs 2017). France remains the fifth largest producer with 6.8 million m3 (+3% vs 2017).
In 2018, total demand for sawn softwood grew at EOS level (plus Italy and the UK) by 1.3% to 69.8 million m3, growing for the seventh year in a row. As anticipated in the production section, 2019 looks set to be a more difficult year. Finland in its market statement stressed that 2018 could have been a cyclical peak, whereas Germany and Latvia emphasized that there is high uncertainty. There are many downside risks including the outcome of Brexit, trade tensions between the United States and China, geopolitical risks
It looks like 2019 will be more of a challenge, with production expected to remain flat overall. On a brighter note, many countries have emphasized high investment levels, especially in facilities which will produce value-added products such as, but not exclusively, CLT.
Sawn softwood production volumes (000 m³) in the EOS (plus Italy and UK) member countries 2009-2019 (2019 forecast) - TOTAL
Sawn softwood production volumes (000 m³) in the EOS (plus Italy and UK) member countries 2014-2019 (2019 forecast) – COUNTRY BY COUNTRY
Production in the sawn hardwood sector has not been showing any significant trends over the last few years. Demand is on the way up in Europe and the mood was upbeat in 2018 but both France and Germany signaled a difficulty in export to Asian markets. However, some countries are experiencing problems in raw materials’ supply for some years, which is keeping production below potential. Countries such as France, Belgium (mainly oak) and Germany (mainly beech) are experiencing significant exports of raw materials to countries like China. Romania signalled unsatisfactory availability of beech logs. On the brighter side, limitations on the exports of oak from Croatia have been lifted, which were one of the reasons why the Austrian hardwood sector had a good year.
Overall production in this group of countries exceeded 6.1 million m3 in 2018, 1.3% higher than in 2017. Production in 2019 is expected to be flat. In 2018, Romania and France remain the biggest sawn hardwood producers within the EOS community, with a production of 1.6 and 1.58 million m3 respectively. The third largest producer remains Germany, with 1.1 million m3, a small increase compared to 2017. Demand in the sawn hardwood sector was deemed satisfactory in France and Austria, livelier than in recent year, particularly thanks to internal markets. Even Germany stressed lively demand, particularly in the oak sector, which in Germany is however limited in terms of volume.
Sawn hardwood production volumes (000 m³) in the EOS (plus Italy and UK) member countries 2009-2019 (2019 forecast) - TOTAL
Sawn hardwood production volumes (000 m³) in the EOS (plus Italy and UK) member countries 2009-2019 (2019 forecast) – COUNTRY BY COUNTRY