Logging and lumber production in North-West Russia are being restored thanks to government support and the reorientation of export flows to Asia and the Middle East. At the end of the year, timber harvesting volumes there may increase, according to Roslesinforg, by 10%. Other regions are also seeing a recovery in the forestry sector, but the positive dynamics in some of them are being held back by warm weather and low export prices.
Forestry enterprises of the Northwestern District are gradually restoring production and export indicators. According to Roslesinforg, in nine months, about 6 million cubic meters of lumber were produced in the macroregion, which is 1.2% higher than the same period in 2022. Almost 4 million cubic meters of them were exported, thanks to which the share of Northwestern Federal District enterprises in the total volume of foreign supplies of lumber products from Russia reached 25.5% against 24% a year earlier.
The decline in logging is slowing down, which fell by 3% over nine months, to 43 million cubic meters of wood. In the country as a whole, the volume of timber harvesting lags behind last year by 6%. “The reasons for the smooth recovery of the market in key regions for the industry can be called current government support measures, primarily the expansion of logistics. It is too early to say whether the growth in production will contribute to the growth of economic indicators. The full effect of support measures has yet to be felt,” notes Roslesinforg.
The largest buyer of Russian lumber from the Northwestern Federal District is currently China. Its share in the export structure increased from 19.6% in 2021 to 59.2% in the three quarters of 2023. In January-September, 2.4 million cubic meters of lumber were supplied to China (an increase of 1.5 times). The second largest importer was the UAE (305.7 thousand cubic meters), which increased purchases by 2.2 times, the third was Singapore (218 thousand cubic meters, an increase of 16%).
In general, Roslesinforg notes, the woodworking and pulp and paper industries of the North-West have almost reached the level of last year. Thus, the production of furniture increased by 17.2%, the production of particle boards – by 7.2%, and factory-made wooden house kits – by 1.5 times. In the segment of pulp and paper products, the production of certain types of paper and cardboard products is growing, but the decline in other items continues. “Now the logging season is in full swing, which allows us to predict an increase in logging volumes in the macroregion by 5–10% compared to the results of 2022,” according to Roslesinforg.
A gradual recovery in production volumes is also noted in other regions. Thus, the Vyatka Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported to Kommersant that the overall indicators of transportation of processed timber by rail in the Kirov region in January-October increased by 9%, lumber – by 5%. The supply of plywood increased most significantly (by 33%). “In the plywood sector, the adaptation of companies to new markets is clearly visible. Initially, manufacturers refused to supply products to some countries due to low prices, but now these issues have been resolved,” the Chamber of Commerce and Industry explained. They noted that exports have now dropped somewhat against the backdrop of high prices for raw materials in Russia and the low cost of products in foreign markets. Thus, the price of sawlogs, only a third of which reaches export quality, rose to 6.5 thousand rubles. per cubic meter due to the fact that warm weather delays the start of the logging season. The further situation, as noted on the market, will depend on when full-fledged logging begins, how the dollar exchange rate will behave at this time, as well as what demand for timber industry products will develop in the main importing countries.