Finnish forest industry notably increased its production of sawn softwood timber and plywood at the start of 2017, when construction in the main market areas picked up. Paperboard and pulp production grew strongly, but disparities between product groups in the forestry industry remain high, reports Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
The increase in European demand, and especially demand in China, for the industry was visible in the early part of the year. Political risks cast a shadow over growth prospects, however.
“Businesses in the Eurozone have confidence in the future, but increasing protectionism and political risks are a real threat to world trade,” says the Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s Chief Economist Maarit Lindström.
China’s economic growth in the early part of the year was due to retail, manufacturing and investment. Demand for forestry products in China comes from the packaging and construction industries, for example.
Production of sawn softwood in the 1Q 2017 was 3.1 million cubic metres. This is an increase of 15.1% over the same period last year. Plywood production grew by 17% to 0.3 million cubic metres. Paperboard production was 0.9 million tonnes, or 6.1% more than in the same period last year. Pulp production grew by 2.6% to 1.9 million tonnes.
Paper production continued to decline, to 1.7 million tonnes. There are a number of reasons for this, such as reduced demand for paper. Paper production was therefore 5% below the amount for the 1Q of the previous year.