The prices of firewood and pellets are going wild

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The prices of firewood and pellets are steep. Branko Glavonjić, a professor at the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade, tells RTS that the prices of energy products at storage sites are unrealistic and do not justify the costs in the chain in which they are formed. He also points out that the demand for firewood and pellets is “extremely high”, and that the imbalance in supply and demand is one of the causes of high prices.

The firewood and pellet market is not slowing down. The price is peppery – a ton of pellets reaches up to 380 euros, and there is no firewood under 50 euros in small towns, and in big cities it reaches up to 10,000 dinars.

Coal in storage yards is hard to find. Due to the energy crisis, the demand is 10 times higher than last year, most warehouses create waiting lists for deliveries because everything that arrives has already been sold.

Branko Glavonjić, a professor at the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade, tells RTS that the prices at the warehouses already this morning for certain categories of pellets range up to 411 euros.

“These are unrealistic prices. The prices are high and do not justify the costs in the chain in which they are formed,” Glavonjić points out.

According to him, the demand for firewood, pellets and fuels is “extremely high”.

“When it comes to wood pellets in the first three months, the producers had a reduced production. There was a smaller amount of pellets on offer on the market. It was tried, and it is still happening, to make up for the lack of production by importing. In the first four months, Serbia imported 37,500 tons”, explains Glavonjić, reminding that the  ban on the export of wood in Serbia is in force.

“The imbalance in supply and demand is one of the reasons why the price is so high,” points out Glavonjić.

Who profits the most, and who should “give in”

The chain includes “Srbijašume” as the main raw material supplier, pellet producers and traders.

Dnevnik ‘s guest says that their research shows that at the moment, the biggest benefit and profit in such situations is for traders.

“In the chain of suppliers, producers and traders, everyone should give in a little bit and show the kind of social responsibility and concern for the market and consumers, because consumers do not buy wood fuel only for this burning season,” says Glavonjić.

According to him, the prices of pellets increased between six and eight thousand dinars from May 15 to June 28, without any increase in other costs, which, he notes, is not justified.

What is the solution

Glavonjić believes that the Government made a good decision to ban the export of pellets and wood fuel, but that it is not enough.

“Even before this decision, Serbia did not export a large amount of wood fuel. In 2021, it exported only 22,000 cubic meters of firewood, which is less than one percent of the total consumption. We also exported small quantities of pellets, only about 11 percent in in relation to total production, thus consumption,” adds the professor.

He emphasizes that the Government’s decision should be extended, because every cubic meter of firewood and ton of pellets is “precious” in this situation.

“I would ask the Government to be more actively involved in this process and to use its authority to invite the main and key players in the market and in the supply and production and sales segments to make an agreement to first stop the rise in prices, and then to discuss how to lower prices “, said the guest of Dnevnik.

The situation in the region

Glavonjić says that the cheapest firewood is in Banja Luka, 65 euros per square meter, followed by Skopje with 74 euros, and Belgrade is between 87 and 90 euros, which is the same price as in Zagreb. In Ljubljana it is around 96 euros.

When it comes to pellets, Glavonjić states that Banjaluka is again the cheapest, 294 euros per ton, Skopje 305 euros, Belgrade 363 euros, Ljubljana 362 euros. For one thing, pellets are more expensive in Zagreb than in Belgrade.

In Italy, the average price of pellets is 372 euros, while in Austria it is 367 euros, says the professor of the Faculty of Forestry in Belgrade, RTS writes.