A NEW report has revealed that the UK timber market has undergone perhaps the biggest period of change seen in decades.

Published by Bidwells, the Timber Price Database records the standing value of conifer timber within Scotland and the North of England’s private sector over the six-month period October 2017 to March 2018. Returns from 79 transactions totalling over 742,000 cubic metres of coniferous timber, with a value to the grower of more than £28 million have been received and indicate (on average) significant price rises over the period.

“All signals are pointing towards prices having continued to increase since the end of March this year and there are still considerable supply pressures on timber processors,” explained Raymond Henderson, head of forestry with Bidwells, Scotland.

“It is always difficult to predict the future, given the influence which global demand and exchange rates have on domestic timber values, but the overall macro-economic situation (increasing demand and tightening supplies) suggests no reason to suspect a weakening of prices over the short term," said Mr Henderson.

“Good news for timber growers then but possibly less so for many processors. Given the closely linked health dependence of each sector on the other, it can be in no-one’s best interests to see unsustainably inflated prices. The hope is therefore that what we have been seeing is a rebasing of timber values at levels which can be maintained in the long term.”

The Database records timber traded mainly in Scotland, but with some information from Northern England, providing a useful insight to the forestry sector, which contributes nearly £1 billion Gross Value Added to Scotland's economy every year. Forestry and timber processing alone contributes £771 million GVA of this and employs around 25,000 FTE people in Scotland.

A copy of the Bidwells report can be found at www.bidwells.co.uk/insights-and-research/timber-price-database-summer-2018