Russia passes Canada to become world's leading softwood lumber exporter
December 9, 2019 | 12:19 pm CST
Russia has surpassed Canada to become the world's largest exporter of softwood lumber.
The country is on track to ship nearly 32 million cubic meters of softwood lumber in 2019, reports Wood Resources International, representing 23 percent of all globally-traded lumber.
Russia's rise is mainly due to other countries seeing low lumber production - namely the U.S. and Canada. Wood Resources reports low activity in the U.S. housing market and decreased demand for U.S. lumber overseas are factors.
Chinese imports have fallen for three consecutive quarters and have hit their lowest level since 2016. Germany's exports are also on the rise - reaching a 10-year high this year - with increased shipments to China, U.S., U.K., and India.
Global timber markets are being hurt by plentiful supply and declining demand, which have moved prices downward. In the third quarter, the Global Sawlong Price Index saw its third largest quarter-over-quarter decline in 10 years. The European index fell another 5 percent in the third quarter and has been falling steadily for two years.
Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce however, indicates U.S. homebuilding has hit a 12-year high, as permits for new homes surged 3.8 percent in October.
Wood Resources reported that pulp prices have also continued to decline, while biomass markets are trending upward in both the U.S. and Europe.
Wood Resources' 56-page quarterly report tracks prices for sawlog, pulpwood, lumber, and pellets worldwide.
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