SEATTLE -- Increased demand for softwood lumber worldwide has pushed lumber prices higher, especially in the United States and China during the first half of 2017, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly, published by Wood Resources International LLC.
International trade of softwood lumber is on pace to a new record high in 2017 if the trend from the first six months of 2017 continues in the second half of the year.
Of the ten largest lumber-exporting countries in the world, Russia, Finland, Austria and Ukraine increased shipments the most year-over-year during the first half of 2017. Russia alone, has accounted for 22 percent of global lumber trade so far in 2017, which is up from 15 percent 10 years ago, according to the WRQ. Canada’s seven consecutive years of expanding shipments may reach an end this year with export volumes having declined 2.2 percent during the first half of 2017.
During the first five months of 2017, lumber production in the U.S. South bounced back after having declined during the second half of 2016. The total production output from January through May was 7.3 percent higher this year as compared to the same period in 2016, according to the WWPA.
In Canada, lumber production was up seven percent in the Eastern provinces during the first five months of 2017, while it fell 2.1 percent in British Columbia. The decline in B.C. occurred mostly because of a reduction in lumber exports to China by 10 percent year-over-year.
Lumber prices in both the U.S. and Canada have trended upward for almost two years and reached 13-year highs in July. One exception has been pine lumber prices in the U.S. South, which have fallen the past few months to the lowest level seen in almost a year.
In addition, demand for softwood lumber has picked up in China in 2017 with import volumes during the first seven months being 16 percent higher than during the same period in 2016. By far, the biggest jump in supply sources has been from Russia, which increased shipments by 24 percent year-over-year to 7.1 million m3 from January to July.
Global lumber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 56-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, wood chip, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe go to www.woodprices.com.
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