Global forest industry rides out tumultuous year

Wood Resources International has published a report on the global forest industry, outlining the key fluctuations and trends within the timber, pulpwood, pulp, lumber and wood biomass sectors. Here are their findings:

Global Timber Markets

  • Strong lumber sales and a weakening US dollar moved sawlog prices upward in many markets worldwide in 3Q/20. The most significant price increases occurred in Western US, Northern and Eastern Europe, and Oceania.
  • Following a two-year decline, the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) increased in 3Q/20 by 2.9% from the previous quarter.
  • The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) fell by 1.4% q-o-q to €70.15/m3 in 3Q/20. The Index has been in steady decline since 2018, when it reached a five-year high.

Global Pulpwood Markets

  • In 3Q/20, the Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) was up by 1.6% q-o-q, following a 16-year low in the previous quarter.
  • The Global Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) was up 1.4% q-o-q to $86.92/odmt in 3Q/20. The Index’s increase was the first rise in almost two years and was mainly due to the weaker US dollar.

Global Pulp Markets

  • Global trade of pulp has gone up this year despite the financial crisis, with Chinese importation reaching an all-time high.
  • Pulp prices started to move upward early in 4Q/20 following a year of minimal price adjustments.

Global Lumber Markets

  • US lumber prices reached record highs in the fall, with prices doubling from April to September.
  • Canadian lumber exports declined during the first nine months compared to 2019.
  • High domestic demand for lumber in the US and a trade dispute with China reduced US softwood exports throughout 2019 and 2020.
  • Lumber imports to China have been down 10% this year, with the two largest supplying countries, Russia and Canada, losing market shares.
  • Predominantly European suppliers, including Ukraine, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Belarus, increased their presence in China in 2020.
  • The largest lumber importer in Europe, the UK, imported 22% less lumber in the first nine months this year compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

Global Biomass Markets

  • Both Canada and the US are on track to reach record high shipments of wood pellets in 2020. Europe is the key destination, with the Netherlands becoming a new important destination as well.
  • Residential pellet prices in Central Europe were down 5% to 9% from 4Q/19 to 4Q/20.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC