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B.C. avoids softwood price drop

Softwood sawlog prices continued their slide throughout the world in the second quarter of 2012, with the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) down for the fourth consecutive quarter, with the exception of B.C. and the Western U.S., according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

October 23, 2012  By Hakan Ekstrom

The Index, which is based on sawlog prices in 20 regions around the world, was at $82.90 per cubic meter, down 3.4 percent from the first quarter of 2012 and 11.5 percent from its 17-year high in the second quarter of last year.

Log prices were down in practically all regions tracked by WRQ in both the local currencies and in U.S. dollar terms. The only exceptions were in Western U.S. and British Columbia, two regions that have been benefiting from strong exports of lumber to Asia and higher demand for lumber in the U.S. market the past six months. In US dollar terms, log prices in the second quarter of 2012 fell the most in Brazil, Japan, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Russia.

Consumption of lumber in Europe has been in decline as a result of the continued financial crises in a number of European countries. As a consequence, demand for sawlogs and log prices have fallen steadily for the past 12 months and were on average about 14% lower in the second quarter of 2012 than at the same time last year. The price declines were the largest in the Nordic countries where log prices have come down 18% over the past year. The good news for the region’s sawmills is that log prices have fallen more steeply than lumber prices, which only declined an average of eight percent from the second quarter of last year. Despite having moved up slightly the past few months, lumber prices are still well below the average for the past three years.

A comparison of sawlog prices from the second quarter of 2012 with those from the second quarter of 2010 shows that current prices are substantially higher in most European countries, particularly in Eastern and Central Europe. For example, average prices in Poland are up 32% from two years ago, and Austrian sawmills have seen log costs go up 15% since 2010. Of all European countries tracked by the WRQ, only Sweden and Norway had lower log costs in the second quarter of 2012 as compared to the same quarter in 2010.


Global pulpwood and timber market reporting is included in the 52-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, established in 198 and with subscribers in over 25 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. Visit: www.woodprices.com.

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