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Published: 24 September 1999

Total consumption of forest products in North America and Europe was at record levels in 1998.The mid-1998 economic crisis in Russia deepened the fall in consumption, production and trade.Central and eastern European countries exhibited strong signs of recovery of production and exports from early 1990s levels.The Asian economic crisis negatively affected ECE region exports in 1998, but some recovery was evident in mid 1999 as tropical timber markets restructured.Corporate restructuring and mergers are creating larger, multi-national corporations with greater market shares.Certified forest products are becoming more available through increasing forest certification activity, but consumer demand remains low.

Oversupply of some forest products restrained prices in some commodities, such as pulpwood; simultaneously other product prices rose sharply with demand.

These were the main findings of the Forest Products Annual Market Review 1998-1999 which has just been published by the UN/ECE and FAO. The Review provides general and statistical information on forest products markets in the UN/ECE region of Europe, North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1998 and the first half of 1999.

The Review begins with a general overview of the forest products markets in the region followed by a description of the economic situation in the region. Four special chapters are included this year: "Forest products markets in Estonia," "Forest products markets in New Zealand," "Trade restrictions and their future" and "Forest products in the electronic marketplace." In addition a new chapter has been added to regularly cover the "Certified forest products marketplace." The developments in six sectors are described for markets of roundwood, sawn softwood, sawn hardwood, tropical hardwoods, wood-based panels and paper and paperboard, woodpulp and pulpwood. For each sector, production, consumption, trade and prices are considered and relevant material on specific markets is included. Tables included with the text present detailed information and annex tables contain further reference material.The ECE Timber Committee will review forest products markets in 1999 and make forecasts for 2000 at its session on 27-30 September in Geneva. The agreed statement will be issued and a press release posted on the website on 1 October 1999.

Copies of the Review may be ordered via the address below or it may be found on the website below too. For further information please contact:

Mr. Ed Pepke, Marketing Specialist

Timber Section, Trade Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE)
Palais des Nations
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 917 2872
Fax: +41 22 917 0041
E-mail: Ed.Pepke@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/trade/timber

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05