German Softwood Lumber with Bark Beetle Infestation Finds New Market in China

The spruce forest lands in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany have been suffering over the past three years. Unseasonably dry weather and then sudden and violent storms has created a perfect breeding ground for the bark beetle. Up until now, Andreas Voss, chief wood marketer for the region has been struggling to find buyers for the beetle infested wood. However, China in the second quarter has suddenly stepped forward and purchased nearly 1.2 million cubic meters of German softwoods. A 143% year-over-year increase.  China has now purchased 50%+ of all German softwood exports this year. Of note prior to 2018, German logs had virtually never been shipped outside of Europe. But the infestation has sent prices for German spruce spiraling downward to 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. Oddly enough, China recently rejected several shipments from Canada, due to the beetle infestation.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.