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New Records Set in 2000 in Forest Products Markets in UNECE Region

Published: 11 September 2001

Consumption of forest products continued to climb to new records in 2000 in the region covered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), despite a slight downturn in North America.


European forest products trade and production accelerated in 2000 in response to strong demand within the EU/EFTA subregion, growing consumption in central and eastern Europe, and rising demand outside Europe.

Strong housing construction in North America fostered growth in the panel sector; however, a mid-2000 peak in sawnwood production, combined with a downturn in the paper and pulp sector, may signal an end to the long-term rise in consumption of total forest products.

December 1999 windstorms in western Europe felled almost 200 million m3 of roundwood, the equivalent of two years’ harvest in the most affected countries, causing chaos in forests and timber markets, especially for logs and pulpwood, but lesser effects on other downstream sectors.

Excess roundwood supply in Europe depressed prices in 2000 and 2001 and despite strong domestic and export demand, sawnwood prices moved lower too.

North American sawn softwood prices exhibited cyclical trends, rising from near record lows in mid-2000 to shoot up again in early 2001, in part due to the expiration of the United States–Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (however, sawn

Russian Federation forest products consumption showed the first signs of recovery in 2000, rising 7%, despite significantly higher exports of paper and wood products, boosted partly by a weaker rouble.

Central and eastern European countries forest products markets generally outperformed other subregions of the UNECE, but on substantially smaller volumes.

After the peak in mid-2000 of the global business cycle, North American and European economies slowed considerably, which, together with currency fluctuations, especially the strengthening dollar and weakening euro, negatively affected international trade in the second half of 2000 and 2001.

Certified forest land area doubled from 2000 to 2001, to reach 80 million hectares in the UNECE region.

These were the main findings of the recently published UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2000-2001. The Review analyses statistical information on forest products markets in the UNECE region of Europe, North America and the CIS countries.

The Review begins with an overview of the forest products markets in the region, followed by a description of the economic factors affecting forest products markets. Statistics-based chapters are included for markets of sawn softwood, sawn hardwood, wood-based panels, paper, paperboard and woodpulp, wood raw materials and tropical timber. 

The dynamic certified forest products marketplace is the subject of one chapter as is secondary processed wood products, e.g. furniture. In addition there are two special chapters, one on important markets in central and eastern European countries, specifically Romania, and the other on a UNECE trading partner, specifically Japan. 

The UNECE Timber Committee reviews markets annually and will present the market forecast for 2001 and 2002 at its annual session in Geneva on 2-5 October 2001. The market statement will be issued as a press release and appear on the Timber Committee's website in October.


Copies of the Review or its Executive Summary may be obtained from the address below, or via the website address below. For further information please contact:

Mr. Ed Pepke, Forest Products Marketing Specialist

UNECE/FAO Timber Section, Trade Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Telephone: +41 22 917 2872
Fax: +41 22 917 0041
E-mail: info.timber@unece.org
Website: www.unece.org/trade/timber

Ref: ECE/TIM/01/01

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