The Ukrainian crisis has completed the major disruptions that the panel market has been experiencing for the past two years. Indeed, while the logistic problems In the meantime, the maritime problems were still very far from being solved, the stop of the Russian plywood imports has put even more pressure on the market.
The European CP birch factories being already saturated for a long time, it is useless to say that the solutions will not come from there. The return to a sufficient level of supply is now illusory in the short and even medium term. Alas, substitution solutions are rare as birch CP is a unique product, with an unequalled width of range, and high qualities of stability and structural resistance. It will undoubtedly be necessary to go down in range, perhaps until the CP combi eucalyptus of China.
China, in fact, is also experiencing a crisis, but of a sanitary nature: the violent resumption of the pandemic has resulted in the closure of factories and loading terminals, while production was about to restart after the Chinese New Year festivities. This will, for sure, generate stock shortages for importers and their customers by the summer. In addition, for a year now, disruptions in the logistics chain have meant that most volumes have been coming to Europe by conventional ships due to the lack of containers: this generates strong uncertainties due to a long and random transit time, and sometimes damage to the goods.
These elements, amplified by a strong dollar (+7% in one month), will unfortunately further amplify price levels that were extremely high.
However, against all odds, the market is resilient, adapting, and always finding solutions, even if imperfect: this resilience, this capacity to bounce back in the most difficult times, makes us optimistic. There will be air gaps, there will be other crises, but demand should remain strong for years to come, particularly in the construction sector.