The 2018 edition of the Carrefour International du Bois (CIB) held in Nantes from the 30th of May until the 1st of June gathered around 570 exhibitors and 10,000 visitors. Both exhibitors and visitors were satisfied with both the fair and the supporting program. The exhibitors came mainly from France and Belgium as well as a smaller number from other European countries. North America was sparsely represented.
Regarding the market, all respondents without exception reported rising prices due to increased demand across virtually all ranges of wood products. This is especially true for the French oak. The prices for oak lumber are on the rise, but can't keep up with the extreme price increases for the roundwood. Companies that have built enough stock last year, to process it now, are currently very satisfied. Those who are in urgent need of oak sawlogs have a problem. German oak sawmills report slightly more modest price increases, but the demand for oak roundwood is, as in previous years, greater than the supply.
Rising prices are also reported for the ash, on the one hand because of the booming exports and, on the other hand, there seems to be a starting trend for the replacement of oak by the ash. This was already observed at this year's Domotex in Hannover.
German and Austrian sawmills were noticeably more satisfied as compared to the CIB 2016. The order books are well filled. Plans for sales in France are currently possible without further notice for the next three or even six months. Only two years ago, it was hardly possible to plan ahead in France for two months.
Even for the next two years, the evolution of the markets are expected to be optimistic. On the one hand, construction activity in general is also picking up in France. On the other hand, with the Olympic Games 2024 and the Rugby World Cup 2023, the softwood sawyers promise additional impulses for the coming years. Some softwood sawmills in Germany and Austria are currently at their capacity limits due to the boom in demand.
Softwood sawyers report a supply shortage of radiata pine from Spain. The imports from South America and South Africa proves to be difficult, because the order books of the softwood producers are full.