The latest round of data releases for January and February, out this week from Statistics Canada and Industry Canada, are shaping up to tell a great story for the next issue of Madison’s Forest Pulse (to be emailed May 4). Also the Western Wood Products Association’s most recent issue of Lumber Track, out Thursday, provides good indication of the current state of lumber manufacturing and sales in Canada and the US for January 2015.
Of most interest to Madison’s is Canadian dimension lumber exports to the US, because this is where the immediate and mid-term sales growth for producers up north will come from. It is important to note that US domestic production will first increase — going forward — as US home building and renovations continue to improve, before Canadian exports rise substantially further.
Lumber Data 2015
Canadian exports of construction framing lumber to the US by volume for the first two months of 2015 increased by 8.9 per cent, to 4,353 million cubic metres (1,845 mmfbm), compared to 3,966 million cubic metres (1,681 mmfbm) for the same time the previous year, new data from Statistics Canada said Thursday.
Looked at another way, sawmill product exports to the US by value grew by 18 per cent, to $959 million from $814 million for the first two months in 2014, said Industry Canada data also Thursday.
Globally, Canadian lumber export volumes increased just 2.7 per cent for the first two months of 2015, to 5,901 million cubic metres (2,501 mmfbm), compared the previous year’s 5,739 million cubic metres (2,432 mmfbm).
Export values to the world, again notably, improved by 9.1 per cent to $1,389 million from $12,730 million.
This is very telling; 2014 volumes of construction framing dimension softwood lumber produced and sold in Canada and the US were very stable over 2013, as were volumes of Canadian lumber exports globally. Values, however, of all of these were up last year compared to 2013. It is extremely interesting that 2015 is starting out again with very stable volumes when compared to the same period the year before, however values continue their upward trend.
Manufacturing and Sales
This information is noteworthy for Madison’s because benchmark WSPF KD 2×4 #2&Btr prices moderated downward by 14.4 per cent, from US$376 mfbm at the beginning of February 2014 to US$322 mfbm in early February this year.
Since then that price has lost another 14.6 per cent, to US$275 this week.
Also of note, Southern Yellow Pine KD 2×4 #2&Btr East Side, consumed largely within the US domestically, also waffled, eventually landing between US$415 mfbm in early February 2014 and US$405 mfbm at the beginning of that month this year, to land comfortably at US$410 this week. (green line on graph above)
The latest WWPA data shows US production of softwood dimension lumber dropped 5.8 per cent in January 2015, at 2,470 mmfbm (5,829 million cubic metres), compared to 2014, when it was 2,624 mmfbm (6,192 million cubic metres). In Canada, production fell 3.9 per cent, to 2,001 mfbm (4,722 cubic metres) from 2,083 mfbm (4,915 million cubic metres) the previous year.
By comparison, in January 2014 US production remained essentially stable at 0.3 per cent, or 2,608 mmfbm (6,154 million cubic metres) compared to 2,617 mmfbm (6,175 million cubic metres) in January 2013. Canadian production at that time rose 2.4 per cent, to 2,083 mmfbm (4,915 million cubic metres) from 2,034 mmfbm (4,800 million cubic metres) in January 2013.
Lastly for the time being, Statistics Canada data released April 1 shows Canadian lumber production by sawmills in January increased 7.2 per cent from December, to 4.8 million cubic metres. Compared with January 2014, lumber production decreased by 3.5 per cent. Canadian sawmills shipped 4.5 million cubic metres of lumber in January, down 0.8 per cent from December.
A large sampling of other new data, from Canadian and US log and lumber sales and export — not to mention transportation data like rail car loadings — will come out in the coming weeks, before the next issue of the quarterly Madison’s Forest Pulse. Don’t miss out on this vital and timely information! Contact our office today for a subscription.