Last year was in many industries, not least in timber business, like from the fastest rollercoaster ride in the world – lots of ups and downs in high speed. There were many reasons for this, and everyone is surely familiar with them. During the first half of the year we saw a positive drive with both demand and price development. Immediately as the summer began, there was a significant negative turn. Still one must note that as a whole, the year was successful and there were positive signs towards the end of the year, after a more challenging summer and autumn. A common prediction has been that the timber trade will return to the ”old times” when changes in demand and prices were minor between quarters, and thus the rollercoaster ride would be calming down. But are we going to see that happen?
Despite the economic predictions being grim globally, sawn timber will be used in large amounts for different end uses. At the same time, the Russian timber missing has started to show clearly especially in the European market. The Chinese demand is expected to revive after the Chinese New Year, and demand in the MENA countries is also developing in a positive direction. We are soon also facing the spring season. Will there really be enough timber, or will the rollercoaster ride continue as the demand-supply relationship will turn positive for demand? Time will tell!
In UPM Timber, sustainability has been an extremely high priority for a long time. Last year we took a big step forward as we set our continuous improvement targets in all our operations. We also launched our new customer promise, Setting the Standard. We want to set new standards in all our operations, to greatly surpass the standards that we have previously settled for in this industry. The most important goal of our new customer promise is to improve our customers’ ability to stand out from their competitors and especially competing materials. Our spearhead is to highlight the excellence of wood as a sustainable and responsible produced material for our customers and their customers, through co-marketing and other activities. Our new carbon footprint calculator sets the standard in transparency, and it is discussed in a separate article in this newsletter.
I wish all our customers a year of success and prosperity in 2023,