WRI: global hardwood fiber price index up 27 per cent over two year

Wood chip and pulplog prices rose substantially in most countries over the past year in the local currencies, according to a new report from Wood Resources International. For example, in the Nordic countries, domestic prices were up about 20% from the 4Q/21 to the 4Q/22, and in Central Europe, wood fibre costs increased by 30-50 per cent over the same period. Pulpwood prices in Latin America rose by 25-40 per cent, while wood price in Canada increased slightly less, 15-35 per cent. The U.S. South was the only region where prices have remained practically unchanged over the past year.

In U.S. dollar terms, global wood fibre prices have generally increased less than in local currencies the past year because of the strengthening dollar. Pulp mills have grappled with some of the highest wood costs in over 10 years. WRI’s two global wood fibre price indices have trended upward for 2.5 years and were at eight-year highs in the 4Q/22. The Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) has increased the most over the past few years, from US$78.79/bdmt in the 3Q/20 to US$100.07/bdmt in the 4Q/22, a 27% increase. The Global Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) rose during the same period, about 13 per cent, from $93.13/bdmt to reach US$104.79/bdmt in the 4Q/22.

Wood fibre costs are, by far, the highest cost component when manufacturing wood pulp. In the 4Q/22, wood costs accounted for almost 60 per cent of the cash cost for pulp produced worldwide, according to FisherSolve from ResourceWise. The other cost shares were energy (17%), chemicals (14%), materials (5%), and labour (5%). There is a significant variation in wood cost percentages depending on the country, ranging between 45-75 per cent. The Nordic countries and Germany are at the low end of the range for wood costs, with energy accounting for a relatively high percentage. The highest wood cost shares are typically in Asia, including China and Japan, with the energy and chemicals shares often below 10 per cent of total cash costs.