France: upward trend in oak sales

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All oak assortments are in demand

The launch of the so-called labeled auctions (i.e. under the labels of quality, as in FSC etc.) organised by ONF (Office national des forêts) doesn't seem to have had any effect on the quality of oak sales. This is one of the conclusions buyers and sellers could reach at the close of the latest auctions held early this summer. In the end of May, ONF announced that an annual oak price growth on average came up to 5%, while the volume of unsold goods reached 10%. 

In mid-June in Burgundy price doubled in Chalons-sur-Saône, while the volume of unsold goods was close to 0, namely just 2%. «According to my estimates, whithin the same goods quality range the annual growth rate of oak prices is about 10% », states Éric Cartailler at the end of the auctions. According to the Managing Director of Sierie Colas in Ain, this tendency is accentuated when it comes to logging in the French state forests, while the price pressure on the medium quality timber from the common forest lands is less strong.  

This strong price pressure on grades A and B was confirmed a few days later in Franche-Comté in Crançot (Jura). On the market deemed active by ONF (6.5% of unsold goods, constant number of bids over a year), prices for logs that are 2 m3 and bigger increased again after a slight slump in spring (see table below). By contrast, this upward trend is was not observed on the market of smaller timber, with the volume below 1.5 m3.

All surveyed professionals reported a very dynamic demand in all oak products and in all markets, with the sawmill owners having managed to push board prices 5%-10% higher on average, depending on the quality. However, a further increase of raw material prices will not help the corporate income statements after all.

Meanwhile, beech forest owners were not so happy with the Crançot-based auctions results. The industrial assortment prices reached their maximum level that was slightly lower than last year, while unsold beech goods reached 30% in volume. Beech assortments with the diameter of 40 cm and more which back in 2015 were sold for 34 euros / м3 today cost no more than 31 euros / м3. To better look into the beech market situation in France one should wait for the Semptember auctions results.


Prices in euros/m3 for standing timber and in forest plantations envisaging personal use logging  




Change over 1 year




1 m3 41 61 43 -29%
1,5 m3 88 110 103 -6,3% 
2 m3 122 146 147 0% 
2,5 m3 148 173 179 +3,4% 
3 m3 170 195 206 +5,6% 
Source: Robert Wood, according to the results of the autions held by ONF in Franche-Comté    
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