VANCOUVER - Western Canada's forestry industry can thank Asian demand for a bounce back in the lumber and pulp markets that pushed all of its top companies back into the black in the same quarter time since 2000, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The top eight Western companies posted agregate third-quarter earnings of $179 million, compared with losses of $201 million, PwC reported in its third-quarter earnings summary. “Canadian forest and paper producers recorded strong results and a solid performance for the third quarter of 2010 amid ongoing market uncertainty,” PwC said in the report.

After stronger pricing earlier in the year, PwC said there was some softening of pulp prices thanks to the start-up of previously idled pulp-mill capacity, and a softening of orders from China. Growth in North American shipments, however, helped offset that reduction in demand. On the lumber side, PwC said third-quarter prices were lower, but Asian demand was strong. “Many producers noted that growth in demand from Asia helped offset reduction in shipments to North American markets,” PwC said.

Canada's top Eastern Canadian mills, however, were not as fortunate. Their third-quarter 2010 losses deepened to $637 million in the third quarter compared with losses of $351 million in the same quarter a year ago.

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Source: The Vancouver Sun

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