Wood Business

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Canada main lumber exporters to China

May 30, 2013 – The Wood Resource Quarterly has released results on the global forest industry's first quarter for 2013. The report shows that sawmills in B.C. are now the largest suppliers of lumber to China. The value of Canadian shipments was about $1.1 billion in both 2011 and 2012.

Global Timber Markets

• Sawlog prices were up in practically all regions covered by the WRQ in the 1Q/13, but were still generally lower than they were in the 1Q/12. The biggest increases from the previous quarter occurred in Western U.S., Latvia, Finland and Sweden. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) was up 2.4 per cent to US $86.33/m3 from the 4Q/12, the biggest quarter-to-quarter increase since early 2011.

Global Pulpwood Prices

• Wood fibre prices were generally down in North America and up in the rest of the world during the 1Q/13. The Softwood Wood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) in the 1Q/13 was practically unchanged at $99.90/odmt from the 4Q/12. The SFPI has inched downward for seven consecutive quarters and is currently down 8.8 per cent from the most recent peak in 2Q/11. The biggest changes in U.S. dollar terms in the 1Q/13 were the declines in chip prices in Eastern Canada (-12.4 per cent), Japan (-8.6 per cent), Western Canada (-7.8 per cent) and the U.S. Northwest (-4.2 per cent). The biggest increases came in France (+10 per cent) and Germany (+6.9 per cent). Hardwood fibre prices were down in Asia and Eastern Canada in the 1Q, while they were slightly higher in Europe and Latin America as compared to the 4Q/12. The Hardwood Wood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) fell by 1.1 per cent to $103.66/odmt in the 1Q/13, which and was 12 per cent below the all-time high in the 3Q/11.

Global Pulp Markets

• Global production of market pulp was 2.7 per cent higher the first two months of this year than for the same period in 2012.

• Prices for softwood pulp (NBSK) have trended upward for six months and were in April about $845/ton in Europe. Hardwood pulp (BHKP) prices have moved up at about the same rate.

Global Lumber Markets

• Lumber production in the U.S. and Canada improved during 2012 and early 2013, with total output in 2012 being six per cent higher than in 2011. During the first two months of 2013, production levels continued to go up by 9.5 per cent in the U.S. and 7.2 per cent in Canada as compared to the same period in 2012.

• The U.S. lumber price developments during 2012 and into early 2013 have been quite remarkable with the Random Length Lumber Price Index increasing by almost 85 per cent from late 2011 to April 2013.

• Sawmills in British Columbia have become the largest suppliers of lumber to China in recent years, surpassing Russia in 2010. The value of Canadian shipments was about 1.1 billion dollars in both 2011 and 2012.

• Lumber imports to China fell 12 per cent to 3.3 million m3 from the 4Q/12 to 1Q/13. This was still seven per cent higher than in the 1Q/12. Canada and Russia continue to be the major suppliers, accounting for 78 per cent of the total imports.

• Consumption of softwood lumber in Japan has been higher this year than in 2012 and the rise in demand has been met both by higher domestic lumber shipments (+6 per cent) and by an increase in importation.

• Sawmills in both the Nordic countries have expanded shipments to non-European countries during the first quarter. Export volumes to Japan were up eight and 11 per cent for Sweden and Finland, respectively.

Global Biomass Markets

• The wood pellet export industry in North America has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. The export value has increased from an estimated $40 million in 2004 to almost $400 million in 2012.

• Pellet prices were close to, or at, record-high levels in all the major markets in Europe in the 1Q/13.