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Forestry Statistics 2013 - Finance & Prices

Timber prices

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Timber Price Indices are based on Forestry Commission sales of softwood (conifers) and are released every 6 months.

The Coniferous Standing Sales Price Index monitors changes in the average price received per cubic metre for timber that the Forestry Commission sold standing, where the purchaser is responsible for harvesting.

The Softwood Sawlog Price Index monitors changes in the average price received per cubic metre of sawlogs (roundwood with a top diameter of 14 cm or more, destined to be sawn into planks or boards) sold at roadside by the Forestry Commission.

Standing timber and sawlogs are distinct markets, and may show different price movements. The data are averages for historic periods, so may be slow to show any turning points.

These indices are used to monitor trends in timber prices and to provide information on the state of the UK timber industry. They are also used by the UK timber industry, alongside other economic indicators, in contract reviews.

There is little other information on wood prices before primary processing and no price index is available for broadleaves. Prices for outputs of primary wood processing are collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the Producer Price Indices (PPIs), and these are available in the MM22 Business Monitor which gives detailed PPIs monthly.

Table 8.1 presents the coniferous standing sales and sawlog price indices for Great Britain to March 2013. The Forestry Commission's functions in Wales transferred to a new organisation, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), on 1 April 2013.  The indices shown in Table 8.1 include sales in Wales from woodlands that are now managed by NRW.

The coniferous standing sales price index for Great Britain was 7.7% lower in real terms in the year to March 2013, compared with the previous year (Table 8.1). The softwood sawlog price index was 0.8% higher in real terms in the 6 months to March 2013, compared with the corresponding period in the previous year.

Table 8.1 Coniferous standing sales and sawlog price indices for Great Britain, 2004-2013

Period ending March

Standing sales2

Sawlogs

 

Nominal terms3

Real terms4

Nominal terms3

Real terms4

index (period to September 2011 = 100)

2004

41.0 49.3 68.1 81.9

2005

44.8 52.3 72.3 84.1

2006

51.6 58.9 69.1 78.7

2007

57.2 63.6 78.1 86.6

2008

89.6 97.2 91.5 98.9

2009

64.0 67.6 67.5 71.1

2010 

 67.5 70.2  83.3 86.2

2011

93.5 94.7 85.7 86.5

2012 

 97.5 96.7 91.7  91.1

2013

91.3 89.3 93.7 91.8

Source: Timber Price Indices: data to March 2013

Notes:

1. The price indices are constructed from information on Forestry Commission sales only.

2. Until November 2008 the Laspeyres method was used to calculate the standing sales index to take account of the size mix. Since then the Fisher method with 5 year chain linking has also been adopted and will eventually supercede the Laspeyres method after a period of transition. The figures shown here are from the Fisher chain-linked index.

3. Nominal prices are the actual prices at that point in time.

4. Real terms values are obtained by using the GDP deflator to convert to "constant prices" (in this case prices in 2011). This allows trends in timber prices to be tracked without the influence of inflation.

Figure 8.1 Coniferous standing sales and sawlog price indices1 in real terms2, 1985-2013

Figure 8.1 Conifererous standing sales and sawlog price indices in real terms, 1985 - 2013

Source: Timber Price Indices: data to March 2013

Notes:

1. The price indices are constructed from information on Forestry Commission sales only.

2. Until November 2008 the Laspeyres method was used to calculate the standing sales index to take account of the size mix. Since then the Fisher method with 5 year chain linking has also been adopted and will eventually supercede the Laspeyres method after a period of transition. The figures shown here are from the Fisher chain-linked index.

3. Real terms values are obtained by using the GDP deflator to convert to "constant prices" (in this case prices in 2011). This allows trends in timber prices to be tracked without the influence of inflation.

Links to Forestry Statistics 2013