Baltic log prices generally higher over 2018

Although mainly stable over the last quarter of 2018, for the full year, Baltic region log prices were generally higher than a year earlier. The pricing trend in Europe was consistent with reported North American and local log price movements for international sales, in a market that appears to be implying higher values for wood than a year ago.

Examining Baltic Pine log prices first, the chart below shows quite a wide range of movements over the last five years, with the differentials from country to country rarely having been greater. In the December quarter of 2018, roadside prices ranged from an average USD55.38/m3 (Sweden) to USD86.94/m3 (Estonia). Notably, the average price in Sweden was 1.0% lower than in the December quarter of 2017, while the Estonian price was an average 5.3% higher over the same period.


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The second chart, displays Baltic region Spruce log prices, also measured at roadside. In general, the chart’s patterns are very similar to those for Pine logs, with consistent peaks and troughs and similar country to country differentials.

Again, the low price was in Sweden at USD62.90/m3 (down 0.4% in December quarter 2018 compared with the prior corresponding period) and the high price was in Estonia at USD87.44/m3 (up 6.3% over the same period).


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Baltic region Birch log data is more limited than that for the softwood species. Accordingly, while there are similarities in the five-year pricing trends, they are less pronounced than for Pine and Spruce described above.

The chart below demonstrates that in the December quarter of 2018, Finnish Birch was 1.9% higher priced than a year earlier at USD58.52/m3, while Estonian Birch was 9.6% higher priced over the same period at USD79.64/m3. Unfortunately, Lithuanian Birch prices are not up to date. It would be intriguing to observe whether they had retained their pricing differential with the Estonian product.


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There is likely an extent to which relative currency positions have played out on log markets in the Baltic region. That would go some way to explain how the prices of these logs are so consistently differentiated from one country to the next.

However, the really significant point is that with a couple of modest distinctions aside, the value of logs was higher in late 2018 than was the case a year earlier.