Softwood exports grow, says latest report8 October 2018
Exports of softwood lumber from Russia, Germany and the Nordic countries have increased due to high demand for wood in Asia and Europe in early 2018, while Canadian exports fell to the lowest levels in five years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).
WRQ says 2018 may be another record year, with six of the ten largest lumber-exporting countries in the world increasing their shipments this year, with exports from Russia, Germany, Ukraine and Austria increasing the most year-over-year.
The biggest decline in exports year-on-year has been from Canada, with shipments in 2018 on pace to be the lowest in five years. Canadian shipments to China and the US during the 1H/18 were down 19% and 6% respectively, as compared to the same period in 2017.
From 2016 to 2017, lumber exports from Finland increased 8.7%. However, export volumes were 3.5% lower in the first four months of 2018 than in the same period in 2017. So far this year, Saudi Arabia (-49%), China (-25%) and the United Kingdom (-6.7%) have seen the biggest declines in volumes shipped from Finland.
The annual export volume of softwood lumber from Sweden in 2017 was 13 million m3, practically unchanged from 2016, and the pattern held true in early 2018 (year-over-year). The biggest changes in exports from 2017 and 2018 have been declines in shipments to Egypt and Japan and increased exports to European customers.
Lumber prices in the US have been on a roller coaster ride the past year, with plunging prices during the summer months of 2018. The dramatic price fluctuations are mostly a reflection of changes in the strength of the US housing market.
US lumber production was up 5.5% in the first four months of 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. Canadian lumber production was down 1.2% for the first four months, with British Columbia’s sawmills running 4.3% below last year’s production levels.