BC softwood commodity product sales in E.U.1
(Softwood lumber, plywood, OSB, MDF and Particleboard)
- Fifth largest overseas market for B.C. softwood commodity products (by volume) after China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
- Mature housing sector with niche opportunities, particularly for high quality products.
- Strong market for coastal products, especially western red cedar and Douglas-fir.
- Small overall supplier at less than 2% of total imports of softwood products.
- 2011: 248,974 m3 of commodity wood products valued at $155.9 million.
- 2012 (through September): 169,700 m3 valued at $104.4 million.
Europe’s economic recovery slowed in 2011 while concerns that the debt crisis will escalate have continued to dampen economic growth in 2012. Though the region’s economy grew at the same rate as the U.S. in 2011, the trend for the two economies is much different in 2012. While the U.S. continues to see modest growth, GDP in the EU27 fell 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 over the third quarter of 2011 and short-term prospects for the region remain negative.
Softwood lumber demand is still recovering from the housing collapse in several countries, with softwood lumber consumption in the E.U. estimated at 84.4 million m³ in 2011, up 1.3 per cent from 2010. E.U. production of softwood lumber was approximately 92.2 million m³, just 0.9 per cent higher than in 2010. Total E.U. production exceeded consumption by about 7.8 million m³, down from 8.1 million m³ in 2010. Overcapacity remains a problem for the European industry and this has been compounded by the turmoil in important markets in North Africa and the Middle East.
While maintaining existing markets for softwood lumber and high value products such as cedar remained a priority for FII funding in 2011/12, new investments were made in expanding export markets for B.C. biomass products. Education and outreach continue in discerning European markets such as Germany and the Netherlands. Value-added industry efforts, led by BC Wood Specialties Group, have also expanded promotions in other European markets showing positive consumption trends. In particular, Turkey and the emerging Eastern European markets present significant opportunities for pre-fabricated housing, panelized systems and value-added architectural products.
FII continues to fulfill an important role in monitoring and participating in debates around green building and environmental product declarations as these have significant impacts beyond the European markets. FII’s Market Outreach activity in the E.U. will continue to focus on protecting and enhancing B.C.’s international reputation as a supplier of sustainable forest products.
Select Accomplishments 2011/12
- 2011/12 was the first year in which FII actively supported the wood biomass (pellet) industry to expand markets in Europe. Through the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC), Canada was represented on the European Pellet Council, which enabled the B.C. industry to secure ENPlus Licence export rights. Without the licence, B.C. companies would not be able to export pellets to Europe.
- The program also generated significant new demand from U.K. and central European buyers who visited pellet plants in B.C. In addition, 30 potential large-scale end users in Europe were connected with producers in B.C. via trade shows and inbound missions to Canada.
- Cedar was featured prominently in buildings developed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the cycling venue, which featured some 5,000 square metres of western red cedar on its exterior.
- Almost 500 designers and architects received training through 24 seminars and workshops across Europe on the benefits of cedar and other value-added wood products in a variety of applications.
Focus in 2012/13
The focus of FII’s funding recipients continues to be on advertising and promotion for high value products such as cedar and value-added manufactured products. Updating and maintaining promotional literature will be central to ensuring that B.C. puts its best foot forward in European markets that influence international trends.
In 2012/13 FII will continue investments in developing markets for wood pellets in Europe as there is a clear window for B.C. to establish itself as a preferred supplier to this high demand market. FII is also supporting work to ensure that international standards for biomass products set by industry bodies are favourable to exports from B.C. and the rest of Canada.
For access to FII-funded market research and related data for the E.U. market, click here
For B.C.’s current monthly exports of softwood lumber, by species, to the E.U., click here
1Due to a change in data sourcing methodology, B.C. market share in the EU is only available from 2005.