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China's appetite for lumber squeezes Europe's wood buyers

Prices of export-grade oak and beech jump; EU declines to take action for now

HAMBURG, Germany -- These days, most hardwood logs taken from German forests are cut to exactly 11.8 meters, a few meters shorter than they were two or three years ago.

This seemingly odd change can be explained by the fact that 11.8 meters is the perfect length to fit in a standard 40-foot container, the kind regularly used to ferry goods and commodities between Europe and China.

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