Global lumber and timber markets

Global Lumber Markets

• In 2018, global trade of softwood lumber reached the second highest level ever recorded.

• The free fall of lumber prices in the US came to a halt in early 2019, and prices might have hit a low for this cycle in January.

• Softwood lumber exports from Canada were down 6% year-over year in 2018, with the biggest decline being in shipments to China.

• For the first time in five years, Swedish exports of softwood lumber fell year-over year in 2018. The biggest declines were in exports to Asia and the MENA region, while shipments to the European market remained practically unchanged.

• Despite much uncertainty in the near future for the Chinese economy, lumber imports rose unexpectedly in the 1Q/19 by as much as 14%.

• Russia increased exports of softwood lumber by 7% from 2017 to 2018. This was the sixth consecutive year that exports have increased from the previous year.

Global Timber Markets

• The global flow of softwood logs from countries with a surplus of wood raw material to regions with tight, or costly log supply, and higher consumption of forest products continued to expand for the third consecutive year in 2018.

• Sawlog prices fell throughout the world in the 1Q/19 due to either plentiful supply or reduced demand for lumber, depending on region. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) fell 1.8% to the lowest level noted since the 2Q/17.

• The Euro-denominated European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) was €81.08/m3 in the 1Q/19, a 3.1% drop from the 4Q/18 – the lowest level seen since 2010.

(Note. The ESPI Price Index is composed of average sawlog prices in nine of the largest log-consuming countries in Europe. The Index tracks prices from the 1Q/95 to the current quarter.)


Source: Excerpts from the Wood Resource Quarterly