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Finnish Forest Industry Production Down in First Quarter

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Finland produced 2.6 million metric tons of paper and paperboard in January - March 2012, down 12% from the corresponding period in 2011, according to a report by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation. Consumption of graphic paper grades, it adds, remained on a low level in Europe, the main market area, which had an impact on Finnish production volumes. On the other hand, production of fine paper improved toward the end of the quarter. Prices for paper and paperboard products remained stable, compared with the corresponding period of 2011.

Finland produced 1.7 million metric tons of pulp in January - March 2012, according to the report, about the same amount as in the corresponding period of 2011. First-quarter pulp exports grew to 720,000 metric tons, up 28% from 2011.

"Rapid action is needed to improve the cost-competitiveness of the forest industry in Finland. Finnish production units need to retain their vitality in an intensely competitive international market," said Timo Jaatinen, director general of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

"New investments are needed to alter the situation, but they cannot be realized unless domestic production factors such as raw material, energy, logistics, and labor costs, become competitive with our key rival countries," Jaatinen added.

Timber sales activity was brisk in the first quarter. The forest industry purchased 6.2 million cubic meters of wood in January - March, more than double the amount procured in the first quarter of 2011. Pulpwood procurements came to 3.2 million cubic meters. Damage from storms around the turn of the year spurred timber sales, especially in January. The high price of timber also boosted sales activity.


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