Global Lumber Trade


There have been some fascinating changes in the movement of hardwood lumber globally this year, partially due to EUTR restrictions on illegally harvested timber imports having come into effect in Europe a year ago.
This week data became available for North American softwood lumber exports. Also that for imports of softwood lumber into consuming regions, and cover the current situation with North American and global hardwood trade.

Softwood and Hardwood Exports

Volumes of US softwood lumber exports to the world increased 20 per cent in the first two months of this year compared to 2013, and values increased by 16 per cent, according to the latest data  from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). A significant jump in exports to China is responsible for this increase.
US lumber producers shipped 67 per cent more softwood lumber to China in January and February 2014 than it did last year. The value of wood exported to China also rose, by 62 per cent.
Lumber exports to the previously largest import partner, Canada, fell by 8 per cent while values to Canada dropped 6 per cent, for January and February 2014 compared to last year.

Hardwood-Review-Chart-4-8-14
Total lumber exports from the US in 2013 were up only 1 per cent over the previous year, while values actually dropped by 4 per cent. For total 2013, volumes of US softwood lumber exports to China surpassed that to Canada for the first time.
The US exported 3.8 million cubic metres (1.6 billion board feet), or just over US$1 billion, in lumber products globally in 2013. Exports to China were 884 thousand cubic metres (2.1 thousand board feet), or US$215.5 million, while that to Canada was 857.5 thousand cubic metres (2 mfbm), or US$218.1 million.
Put another way, exports of Southern Pine lumber was approximately 44.2 (mmfbm) for January 2014 according USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. This volume represents an increase of 44 per cent above the same month last year, said the Southern Forest Products Association Wednesday. Offshore shipments during January roughly break down as follows: 23.5 MMbf dressed, 9.6 MMbf rough, and 11.1 MMbf treated lumber, says SFPA.
In Canada, softwood lumber exports to the US, China, and Japan so far this year are stable compared to last.
As for Russia, in January-February 2014, total volume of lumber exports from Russia increased by 18.1 per cent, to 1.72 million tons (4.87 million cubic metres) year-over-year, the Federal Customs Service of Russia said in the press release received by Lesprom Network also Wednesday.
The volume of Russian exports of roundwood for the reporting period amounted to 3.16 million cubic metres (1.3 mfbm), a 25.8 per cent increase over the same period last year. Values of roundwood exports amounted to US$289.6 million, a 29.9 per cent jump from last year. Specifically for lumber, Russia’s exports were US$535.5 million, a 15.9 per cent improvement over the previous year.
In hardwood lumber, US exports totalled 136.8 million board feet (3,209 cubic metres) in January 2014, surpassing the January record set in 2013 by 22 per cent, according to WoodWorking.net Wednesday. Shipments were up 52 per cent to China, 19 per cent to Vietnam, and 27 per cent to the UK this January relative to last. Again exports from Canada declined, the only “Top 5” market to do so, by 12 per cent.
Many exporters already had orders booked for much of the lumber that will come out of their kilns in April and even May, many with prices to be determined at time of shipment, said WoodWorking.net.