China's North American Log and Lumber Imports Down in 2012

Posted: 03/14/2013 1:26PM

 

SEATTLE, WA -- China’s hunger for wood was less acute in 2012 than the previous year. In particular importation of softwood logs fell substantially from the record levels of 2011, as reported by the Wood Resource Quarterly (woodprices.com). Importation of lumber was also lower in 2012, but the decline was much less than that of logs. The biggest changes in wood imports between 2011 and 2012 were the sharp decline of Russian logs crossing the Chinese border and the reduced lumber volumes from the U.S. lumber entering Chinese ports.

North America is a major supplier of softwood products to China, with the market share for logs and lumber in January 2013, accounting for 26% and 53%, respectively. In 2012, Canada and the U.S. exported logs and lumber valued at 2.1 billion dollars, which was down 17 percent from 2011. Despite the decline in shipments last year, it was still the second highest level on record and more than four times the level just three years earlier.

Sawmills in British Columbia have become the largest suppliers of lumber to China in recent years, surpassing Russia in 2010. The value of Canadian shipments was about 1.1 billion dollars in both 2011 and 2012, and the value is likely to be higher in 2013. Just five years ago, less than hundred million dollars worth of lumber was shipped to China!

This new market has become increasingly important for many sawmills in Western Canada, which historically have been shipped most of their production to the U.S. market.

Five years ago, about ten percent of the export volumes from the province were destined for China. This share had gone up to 32 percent in 2012. The still unanswered question is how sawmills in this region will choose to allocate their production in the coming years when lumber demand is expected to increase in the U.S.

Log exports from Western U.S. to China have jumped ten-fold the past five years, which has had a major impact on the Coastal log market in the states of Washington and Oregon. Despite relatively low production levels in the industry the past five years, sawlog prices in the 4Q/12 were about 60 percent higher than in 2009, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. This development coincides with the period when log exports to China expanded rapidly. Although lumber price increases are good news for sawmills in the Western states during 2012 and early 2013, the bad news is that the log prices are increasing as well.

Source: Wood Resource Quarterly

 


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

 

Search our database for woodworking equipment, supplies and services:

Select a category:


Feedback Form
Feedback Form