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Over 50% of the firewood in Greece is imported from Bulgaria

08 October 2012 / 20:10:48  GRReporter
5726 reads

Victoria Mindova

Bulgaria is the largest exporter of firewood to the Greek market. This became clear from the Trade Department of the Ministry of Economy. The Ministry points out that there is a boom in the consumption of firewood in Greece following the deepening of the crisis and the drastic increase in fuel excise duty.

Over half of the firewood is imported mainly from Bulgaria, the head of the Department Stefanos Kominos told GRReporter. He said that imports have risen by about 20% over the last two years and are tending to rise. Bulgaria offers a raw material of good quality and at a very competitive price it has been noted in Athens. The same opinionis shared by the chairman of the consumer union Michalis Tsifakis. He has explained for our readers that the average price per ton of Bulgarian firewood is around 140 euro whereas Greek firewood costs between 180 and 240 euro.

“The demand for firewood has dramatically increased from June 2012 to date. Compared with the data from last year, the increase in consumption will double," Tsifakis told GRReporter. According to him, around 60% -70% of Greek households will use heating stoves or fireplaces this season. The main reason is that the government equalizes the excise duty on heating oil with that of fuel oil and the naphtha will reach 1,500-1,600 euro per ton this year. A house of one hundred and twenty square metres needs an average of two tons of heating oil in the winter in Greece. These parameters change depending on the area and weather conditions. In 2011, the average price per ton of heating oil was around 800-900 euro.

In Greece, there is no central heating system and households rely on local heating systems. Although there is a gas network, local heating oil systems are still the most common in urban areas. Experts say that many households that can afford it obtained stoves last year or built fireplaces of different types. As a result, the demand for firewood grew, leading to a speculative increase in the prices. "Last year, the price per ton of local firewood did not exceed 200 euro. This year, we see that the upper price limit reaches 240 euro. We do not know what might happen in the coldest months," Tsifakis said.

Correct companies, in turn, provide information on the best type of firewood depending on the season of purchase. Oak, beech, pine, fir, kermes oak and hornbeam are the preferred types for heating in winter. For example, it is better not to order beech in the winter as it grows at high altitudes, where there is usually snow and the trees cannot be easily cut.

The consumer union insists that citizens need to conduct thorough market research before buying stocks for the winter. "It is important to note where the wood comes from, its price and type. Different types of wood have a different heat generation," the chairman said. "The most active consumers have placed orders and obtained supplies. Some order straight from Bulgarian warehouses on the Internet." Tsifakis said that increased demand for firewood has exceeded all expectations in the market. He has stressed that the companies keeping the highest prices risk losing consumer confidence very quickly because demand is increasing and the competition is growing as a result. "Consumers do not forgive. They can be fooled only once," Michalis Tsifakis concluded. Therefore, it is important that retailers do not forget that if they want to remain in the market they must set the price level in accordance with the purchasing power in order to work at a profit, but they must not speculate on the back of consumers, the union advises.

Tags: EconomyMarketsFirewoodGreeceBulgaria
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