Global markets for timber and lumber did well in Q1/2018 despite slowdown in China


In the first quarter of 2018, timber and lumber markets around the world did well, with the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) climbing 5.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter to hit its highest level since late 2014 with sawlog prices steadily going up over the past year and the GSPI rising just above 15 per cent in 12 months, according to Wood Resource Quarterly.

Moreover, the Euro-based European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) attained its highest level in around in the first quarter in almost three years, on the back of an upward trend that began in 2016.

Softwood lumber consumption in the United States (U.S.) hit a ten-year high in 2017, but demand fell in the first quarter of 2018. However, despite the drop, lumber production in the west coast of the U.S. leaped more than nine per cent year-on-year due to strong demand from China over the past year. Demand for wood in China, however, fell in the first quarter, with total import volumes dropping to their lowest points since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The sawmilling industries in the Nordic nations improved in terms of demand and pricing in 2017 and 2018 as well, and in Russia, lumber exports rose 10 per cent from 2017, reaching a volume of 28 million m³ in 2017 – more than twice the export volume seen in 2007 and an all-time high.