Douglas fir CHARLOTTE, NC – Log prices in the Pacific Northwest are climbing back to pre-recession levels, according to Forest2Market. The group cites housing's recovery and export lumber growth as contributing factors to the growth.
November lumber prices were $100 per thousand board feet (MBF) above their November 2011 level. In 2013, Forest2Market projects a number of species prices rising, including Douglas fir, which it projects will reach into the mid-$600s by the end of the first quarter.
“Asian appetite for Northwest forest products strengthened in the second half of 2012 and looks strong moving into the New Year,” Gordon Culbertson, manager of Forest2Market’s Pacific Northwest business, stated. “Inventories of imported logs and lumber products in China have declined by nearly 50 percent from a year ago, while the Chinese Government has renewed efforts to stimulate affordable housing construction. Russia’s market share, traditionally the largest supplier of Chinese logs and lumber, has continued to erode, leaving Chinese buyers to fill the shortage with deliveries from North America and New Zealand.”
According to Forest2Market’s Delivered Price Database, of the logs exported to Asia, Douglas fir prices gained back $72 per MBF of the $78 per MBF lost in the first six months and hem-fir peaked at $558 per MBF in November. "Strong demand from China, especially for hem-fir logs, and Japan’s renewed interest in higher quality second growth Douglas fir logs will bolster prices going forward," the group said.