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Forest products markets display growth in CIS and some Central and Eastern European countries, but turned down in 2001 in UNECE region: upturn begins in some markets in 2002

Published: 10 September 2002


  • Viable forest products markets, supported by policy reforms, underpin sustainable development in some central and eastern European countries' forest and forest products sector, as evidenced by their having become significant players in international forest products markets.
  • Following 10 years of growth, consumption of primary-processed forest products in the UNECE region declined sharply in 2001, falling by 3% overall, the greatest one-year drop since the1970s oil crises and 1990s break-up of the USSR.
  • European and North American pulp and paper markets began to show signs of an upturn during the first half of 2002.
  • In contrast to developments in the other subregions of the UNECE region, consumption of wood products in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) subregion, notably the Russian Federation, gained 7% in 2001, approximately the same as in 2000.
  • Due only to the extraordinary strength of the United States housing-related demand for wood products, the North American subregion did not sink to further depths in 2001.
  • Consumption of sawnwood fell in the UNECE region in 2001, by 4% for both softwoods and hardwoods; United States production decreases opened the door for increased imports from Canada, despite continuing trade disputes, and European countries as well as for growing volumes from southern hemisphere, plantation-based suppliers.
  • Market effects from Europe's catastrophic windstorms in late 1999 continued to influence wood raw materials and some primary processing sectors in 2001.
  • Influenced by a strong dollar in 2001, trade patterns and competitive positions will change in 2002 with the fall in value against the euro and the yen.
  • Structural change is occurring in United States and western European furniture manufacturing as production decreases rapidly, replaced by imports from central and eastern European and developing, including tropical, countries.
  • Certified forest product markets grew exponentially in 2001, but remained small compared to certified forest area, which surged to 124 million hectares in mid-2002, of which 90% is in the UNECE region.
  • Due to industry restructuring, and demand in construction, furniture and flooring, panels markets continued to expand in 2001, achieving new production records for oriented strand board (OSB) and medium density fibreboard (MDF).
  • Cross sectoral policy issues directly influence the forest products sector and both market stakeholders and policy decision makers must be aware of their current and future consequences.

These are some of the main findings of the recently published UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review, 2001-2002. The Review analyses statistical information and developments in forest products markets in the UNECE region of Europe, North America and the CIS countries.

The Review begins with an overview, which for the first time highlights the policy dimension in forest products markets. The policy chapter states that sustainable development of the forest and timber sector depends on viable forest products markets. Strong markets for wood and non-wood forest products support the economic viability of the whole sector. The entire production chain, from forest to end consumers, benefits from a continuous supply of affordable forest-based products, whether they be wood or non-wood. The UNECE Timber Committee and the FAO European Forestry Committee draw the critical link between sustainable forest products markets and sustainable forest management by stressing that neither can exist in isolation-each needs the other to be viable.

The overview chapter continues with a summary of major trends and developments influencing forest products markets, followed by a description of the economic factors affecting the forest and forest industries sector. 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 value-added wood products, e.g. furniture. In addition there are three chapters on special topics.

The market effects of wood promotion is the theme of one special chapter and it will also be the theme of the Timber Committee's annual forest products market discussions on 24-25 September 2002 in Geneva. Another special chapter focuses on Turkey's forest products markets and a third on Chile's forest products markets.

Copies of the Review or its Executive Summary may be obtained from the web site homepage or postal address below. For further information please contact:

Mr. Ed Pepke, Forest Products Marketing Specialist

UNECE/FAO Timber Section

Trade Development and Timber Division

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Palais des Nations

CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Telephone: +41 (0)22 917 2872

Fax: +41 (0)22 917 0041

E-mail: info.timber@unece.org
Web site: http://www.unece.org/trade/timber

Ref: ECE/TIM/02/01

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

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

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