The timber market for the first quarter of 2020 started off remaining buoyant with a strong demand for all products. Log prices are currently 12% less than the same time last year due to cheap imports from Europe but are up over 18% on 2017. The peak seen in 2018/19 was short lived, as they usually are, but overall prices and demand are good.
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought uncertainty to the marketplace with some mills shutting for an unknown period. However, stocks are currently lower than you would expect for this time of year due to a long, wet winter. Once the current crisis is over there may well be impacts if we enter a global recession although there could also be reduced supply and currency exchange rates will determine the level of imports.
The biomass market is less affected and demand for this product is good. Landowners are beginning to respond to the ash dieback problem and it is possible there will be a plentiful supply of ash into the log, firewood and biomass markets. Owners are advised to commence a phased felling of ash gradually bringing timber to the market and in England take advantage of the Tree Health grant which contributes towards restock costs.
It is still well worth while managing your woods, bringing timber to market and realising TAX FREE income from your asset. The coming years are likely to see a continuing demand for timber and woodland as construction moves towards timber based solutions for house building and carbon becomes an increasingly valuable market.