German wood industry continues to grow

Photo: VDM

"The German wood industry can look back on five years of continuous growth. In the full year 2018, the sales value increased by 2.5 percent to € 36.5 billion. The current figures for the beginning of 2019 indicate a stabilization of sales at the previous year's level, "said Jan Kurth (photo), chief executive of the Federation of the German Timber Industry (HDH), as part of the association's press trip on 9 April.

The furniture industry, which is the largest segment of the timber industry with a sales share of around 50% (EUR 18 billion), achieved an increase of 0.7% for the whole of 2018. The construction-related sector, which accounts for 16% (6 billion euros) of the second largest segment of the timber industry, including prefabricated construction, the manufacturers of windows, doors, stairs and other wood-based components, increased its sales by 4.9%. For the wood packaging sector, official statistics show a very good year in 2018 (+ 23% or EUR 0.9 billion). Just at the beginning of last year, this sub-sector benefited from a high level of dynamism in German industry, as HDH announces. The other segments of the German timber industry also recorded some significant increases in sales (sawmills plus 8.2%), or at least maintained their sales levels (wood-based materials -1.4%).

At the beginning of 2019, the entire German timber industry employed a total of 156,685 men and women in 922 companies with 50 or more employees. Compared to the previous year, the number of companies increased by 0.1%, at the same time the number of employees increased noticeably by 2.4%. Thus, the German wood industry generated around 3,600 new jobs within a year.

According to forecasts made by HDH, the growth of the German economy in 2019 will noticeably slow. With stable consumer spending predicted, construction activity is likely to deteriorate over the course of 2019. That is why the HDH is forecasting a stable to only slightly positive sales development for the whole of 2019 for the entire German wood industry.

"For the consumers, wood is not scarce, only with the oak there are bottlenecks, which have increased the raw material already significantly in the past year. Apart from that, the supply of raw materials to the industry - for example in spruce - has relaxed more. Although the dryness of the past summer and later calamities have added to the stocks, the supply of softwood in marketable qualities also meets a slight increase in demand, "concludes Kurth.