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International News : The Global Timber and Forest Industry This Quarter - a WRQ Brief

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The Global Forest Industry in the 4Q/2016

Excerpts from the 4Q 2015 issue of the Wood Resource Quarterly. To subscribe to the full 52-page market report, please visit www.woodprices.com

Special report: Global Trade of Wood Chips in 2016

  • The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) was up 1.4 % in the 4Q/15 but over 13% lower than two years ago.
  • The Euro-based European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI-€) was down slightly in the 4Q/16, and continued its three-year downward trend.
  • Both WRI wood fiber price indices fell in the 4Q/16. Softwood and hardwood fiber prices were down in most of Europe and North America.
  • Global softwood lumber trade increased 12% in 2016 to reach a new record-high. Lumber prices increased in eight US and the Nordic countries.

US pellet exports were up to 1.16 million tons in the 3Q/16, with all the volumes going to Europe.

Global Timber Markets

  • With a few exceptions, sawlog prices were lower throughout the world in the 4Q/16 than they were in the previous quarter. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) fell 1.2% to US$69.82/m3 in the 4Q/16. The current GSPI is up 1.4% from a year ago but over 13% lower than in the same quarter two years ago.
 Global sawlog
  • Sawlog prices in Europe have been trending downward the past three years from their record high levels in 2014. In the 4Q/16, the European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI-€) was 8.2% below its peak in the 1Q/14. Sawlog prices in Sweden, Finland and Norway are currently at their lowest levels in over ten years in their local currencies despite healthy lumber markets for the sawmills in the region.

Global Pulpwood Prices

  • Both wood fiber price indices fell in the 4Q/16, with the SFPI declining 3.2% q-o-q to $85.65/odmt, and the HFPI falling 2.6%.
  • Softwood fiber prices were down in most of Europe and North America, while they increased in Latin America, Russia, Oceania and Asia in the 4Q/16. The biggest declines occurred in Canada, Sweden and Germany, where prices in US dollar terms were lower because of reduced prices in the local currencies and a stronger US dollar.
  • Hardwood fiber prices followed the same pattern as that of softwood prices, with generally lower prices in Europe and North America q-o-q, while prices were slightly higher in Latin America and Oceania. In Russia, prices were up over 11% from the 3Q/16.
Global Wood Fibre Price Indices
Global Pulp Markets

  • During the first 11 months of 2016, global market pulp production was up 3.4% as compared to the same period in 2015. The rise in production in 2016 is a continuation of an upward trend that started in 2011.
  • Softwood pulp prices have been quite stable throughout 2016 and indications early in 2017 are that pulp producers in North America and Europe are pushing for price increases during the first quarter, as markets are strengthening.
  • Prices of hardwood pulp (BHKP) fell during much of 2016. In Europe, prices in the end of 2016 were at their lowest levels in five years.

Global Lumber Markets

  • Global softwood lumber trade increased 12 percent year-over-year in 2016 to reach a new record-high of 121 million m3, according to estimates by WRI. Since the global financial reception in 2009, there has been a steady climb in international trade of lumber with shipments the past seven years having increased as much as 66 percent.
  • Lumber exports from British Columbia are on pace to reach their highest levels since 2006 this year.
  • Lumber prices in the US trended upward during most of 2016 but plateaued late in the year and in early 2017. Current prices are close to the highest levels in almost two years.
  • Although prices increased in both Finland and Sweden during the spring and summer of 2016, this upward trend was short-lived and prices fell during the fall, and in the 4Q/16, were back down to about the same level as in the 4Q/15.
  • Despite relatively pessimistic forecasts for wood demand early in 2016, China's need for imported wood picked up during the summer and fall with import volumes in the 4Q/16 being up about 20% as compared to the 4Q/15.

Global Biomass Markets

  • US pellet exports increased to 1.16 million ton in the 3Q/16, with all the volume headed to Europe. US pellet exports to Asia have dried up with no significant volumes having been recorded in the past five quarters.
  • Prices for residential pellets in Germany have increased for two consecutive quarters and are currently at their highest level in two years.

Global timber and wood market reporting is included in the 52-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, established in 1988 and with subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices and trade, and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.woodprices.com

Contact Information

Wood Resources International LLC
Hakan Ekstrom
Seattle, USA
NOTE: The commercial aspect of the Forestry South Africa (FSA) website, as well as the commercial side of the FSA Newsletter, is managed and run by Fevertree Media (Pty) Ltd which is a separately run entity to the non-profit organisation Forestry South Africa.

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