Exports of red oak rise dramatically, market tightens
November 30, 2017 | 11:02 am CST
Despite having roughly the same amount of log exports for the first three-quarters of the year as last year, exports of red oak have risen dramatically in the United States.
With 55 million cubic feet of logs exported, exports of red oak rose 64 percent over last year, representing 29 percent of the U.S.' total log export at nearly 16 million cubic feet.
Exports of other types of logs remained closer to last year's numbers. Maple exports fell by 12 percent to 10.3 million cubic feet, birch fell by 19 percent to nearly 4 million cubic feet, ash rose 10 percent to 6.7 million cubic feet, white oak rose 20 percent to 5.6 million cubic feet, and walnut rose 28 percent to 4.7 million cubic feet.
China remains the top recipient of U.S. hardwood logs, boosting its imports by 19 percent. 


China moves shipping containers to U.S. logging sites

China is reportedly moving shipping containers directly to logging sites in the United States, which could be detrimental as they will be removing logs from an already tight log market.

With an increased Chinese interest, removing logs from an already tight U.S. market could raise lumber prices inside the country. Chinese buyers are paying 50 percent more than the typical sawmill price for logs, says Wood Doctor Gene Wengert. They are paying the equivalent of $900 per 1000 bf, which means the wood will be very expensive when they saw it.

The species they want are red oak, white oak, hickory and cherry. These woods are trending in China among the newly wealthy, who have a taste for a higher quality product. They have markets that will pay this high price.

This, overall, will increase lumber prices within our country due to the shortage of logs, Wengert said. Already, sawmills are running very low in log inventory; this will make it even tighter. Wengert’s speculation is that cabinet and furniture operations will have to buy standing timber, or work closely with sawmills that buy standing timber if they want to control their supply and costs.
It will also make U.S. exports more expensive and imports from China of non-U.S. woods more competitive.


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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].