Monday 16 January 2023. – Oddly enough, predicting the 2023 plywood business landscape 2023 seems easy. The overall market sentiment is unanimous.
Interest rates and inflation are high. Activity slows down.
Since the pandemic started in early 2020, the wood panel market has faced surprises one after another. Even if we’d see a steady decline in 2023, some surprises will happen. The world is restless.
The USA has a hard time retaining good business levels together with tightening monetary policy. China has hands full with Codiv and real estate problems. Europe is wrestling with the energy crisis and soaring prices. There is no resolution in sight to the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Here’s a simplified plywood market outlook in January 2023:
Birch plywood availability will remain scarce. A minor part of Russian production will find new markets in Asia. Small amounts of Russian material will end up illegally in the western market.
Some hardwood plywood will get a boost from missing birch volumes. Particularly the species whose technical properties are close to birch. Other hardwood plywood will face declining demand. New mixed species constructions emerge; some stay, some go.
Softwood plywood and OSB will suffer from declining building activity. Production curtailments are probable.
Despite the pessimistic market tone, the average prices for many panels are still above the level of the late 2010s. Production costs are higher, but the profit-making capability is still there.
Whether the market is going up or down, there’s plenty of work for wood people. Let’s look and grab new opportunities in 2023!