Sailing the seas of plywood

May 20, 2022. – In 2011 the hardwood plywood price delivered to the German border was 539 €/m3. Eight years later, in 2019, the price was the same 539 €/m3. Inbetween 2011 and 2019 the highest annual average was 583 €/m3 in 2014. In other words, the 2010s was a flat decade for plywood prices.

That was a time when plywood buyers could choose from whom they bought their panels. If a supplier was uncooperative or had too many quality issues, there were other producers in line. New suppliers were approaching with attractive offers, and that kept the price level steady.

In those days plywood sales reps were still driving to meet their customers face to face. They sat down for a coffee and warm-up chat. After a while reps were blushingly proposing a 2% price increase. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes not.

Companies had lower margins but business was predictable. Years went by at a steady pace. Issues like CARB and EUTR felt like huge projects. Not even mentioning the arrangements for the next get-together of your sales team.

Of course, it wasn’t only smooth and pleasant, but now the 2010s seem like sailing on a calm, blue sea. Sun warms up your skin and the boat slooowly floats forward.

Before the price rally started in 2021, the German average import price for hardwood plywood went down to 512 €/m3 in 2020. Since then the plywood market has seen one surprise after another. In normal conditions, today’s soaring inflation and the deteriorating stock market would kill the demand. Now the Russian deficit in the plywood market makes the demand/supply situation unbalanced. The new decade has definitely started with an upbeat rhythm.