Expensive timber – Bund considers measures to be sufficient

Berlin (dpa) – Due to massive price increases and possibly even longer impending shortages in timber, the Thuringian CDU member of the Bundestag, Albert Weiler, is calling for temporary export restrictions. The federal government doesn’t think so. It continues to rely on less drastic measures.

After the wood prices had risen by up to 700 percent in the past year, many craft businesses could no longer cover their costs despite full order books , some were facing a «existence-threatening situation», said Weiler of the German press agency. “A house of their own is already unaffordable for young families because the prices of building materials have exploded,” he added. He calls for wood to be marketed in Germany first.

Weiler referred to a new documentation of the Scientific Service of the Bundestag. It feeds worries about prolonged shortages and points to factors that go beyond the consequences of the corona pandemic. The bark beetle is spreading in Canada, an important supplier country for the USA, due to changed climatic conditions.

Increased appreciation

An answer from the federal government is quoted, according to which Russia’s export ban for coniferous logs from January 1st 2022 the global supply could be reduced and prices could stabilize at a higher level. “The development also expresses the increased appreciation of the raw material wood and is a sign of a functioning market. In the medium term, a higher price level will also have an impact on the improvement of the structure and management of the forests, ”the German government also declared in June. Protectionist measures such as export bans could generate disputes on trade policy, disrupt international supply chains in the long term and increase prices in the medium term.

“It is not enough to hope that the market will stabilize itself again,” criticized Hamlet. The Russian export ban on logs has exacerbated the situation in Germany, which is why “uncomfortable paths must now be taken”.

The conference of economics ministers dealt with the timber shortage in June. A resolution emphasized that production should be expanded to counteract the shortage of raw materials and intermediate products. In the case of wood, obstacles – such as the use of damaged wood as a building material – are to be removed. “The Conference of Economic Ministers also considers wood felled because of pest infestation as a high-quality raw material, the use of which should be supported, among other things, in construction. Conflicting standards should be checked and changed. ” The ministers stressed the importance of free trade and stated that they would like to continue monitoring the situation In coordination with the associations, it was decided that “goodwill will be granted for public construction projects if there are sharp price increases,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics. The current shortages of materials, for example in the case of wood or steel, cannot be combated with export restrictions, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is also responsible for construction. This “would only lead to negative countermeasures and sanctions,” said a spokeswoman on request.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) reported in mid-September that he and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had a few weeks written to the mayors and district administrators beforehand and asked, in view of the increased wood prices, to create the possibility of subsequently allowing price surcharges from the public sector for affected craftsmen.

The Central Association of the German Building Industry hopes that the situation will ease in the medium term. The producer price indices are still high – since mid-July, but at least the availability has been restored at the beginning of August, said an association spokesman.

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