Geopolitical Turmoil Further Impacts Already Tight Wood Supply Conditions for European Parquet Markets

The Board of Directors of the European Federation of the Parquet industry (FEP) met in the beginning of April 2022 and discussed, amongst other topics, the parquet situation in the European markets. 

The European parquet markets show diverse evolutions for the first quarter 2022 compared to the same period last year. While Italy, Scandinavia, and Spain report still significant increases in demand, Benelux, France, and Switzerland present flat evolutions. Austria and Germany are already experiencing decreases, reflecting the difficulty to fill in orders. This phenomenon is expected to be reported by all markets in the coming months as most of the FEP members are facing issues with supply. 

Issues of wood raw material availability and affordability are not new and have been limiting the positive advancement of the sector since the onset of the pandemic, but they are now getting even more acute with the dramatic evolution of the geopolitical situation. 

A significant part of oak supplies to the European producers of parquet comes from Ukraine and Russia. Besides wood logs, supply issues for semi-finished wood-based products are also reported. They were already due to a lack of workforce in Ukraine, international payment difficulties with Russia, transport difficulties with both countries, and countermeasures taken by Russia to stop its exports to the EU of some wood products. Additionally, on April 8, the European Commission prohibited imports of all wood products from Russia – this was already the case for wood products coming from Belarus. 

Finally, PEFC and FSC consider wood and wood-based materials from Russia and Belarus as “conflict wood” (FSC is also now suspending certificates for wood coming from Ukrainian war zones), wood originating from Russia and Belarus is “practically” not EUTR compliant, and NGOs put pressure to stop any wood/wood products trade flow with Russia and Belarus. 

A brief per country recap is provided in the table below:

Austria 

Despite a strong demand, the Austrian parquet market decreased by 7 percent during the first quarter 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, reflecting the increasing difficulty to fill in orders. It is right now impossible to forecast the situation in the coming months. 

Benelux 

Parquet demand is present in the Benelux markets but materials are lacking. Energy costs are staggering and lots of uncertainties are present regarding the near future. 

France 

French parquet consumption rose by 11 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, but the first quarter 2022 is showing a flat evolution as it is difficult to answer to the high demand. 

Germany 

As stocks have been already depleted during the second half of 2021, orders are difficult to fill and parquet consumption fell by 4 percent in Germany during the first quarter 2022 compared to the same period last year. 

Italy 

The booming Italian market progressed by 10 percent during the first quarter 2022 compared to the first quarter 2021. There are lots of orders but the problem is to supply them. Currently, it is possible to deliver with delays but in the coming months fulfilling orders will be a challenge. 

Nordic cluster 

As in Sweden, but to a lesser extent, Nordic parquet markets are supported by postponed projects and renovation dedicated to new ways of living. They increased by 5-10 percent during the first quarter 2022 but this trend could reach an end after the second quarter of the current year. 

Spain 

Spanish consumption rose by 3 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. The same increase is observed during the first quarter 2022 compared to the first quarter last year. Nevertheless, increases in costs and lack of workforce are hampering forecasts for the coming months. Inflation could also reduce consumption in the third quarter 2022. 

Sweden 

The delays in and postponement of projects during the pandemic and renovation, boosted the Swedish parquet market by 10-15 percent during the first quarter 2022 compared to the same period last year. This evolution won’t probably last beyond the second quarter of this year. 

Switzerland 

Compared to 2020, parquet consumption in Switzerland increased by 10 percent in 2021 but the evolution is flat for the first quarter 2022 compared to the first quarter 2021. Stocks are now very low. And a flat development is also forecast for the second quarter 2022. 

The FEP’s 66th General Assembly and 46th Parquet Congress are scheduled for June 9-10, 2022 in Hamburg, Germany. 

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