harvests in the US have increased by ten percent from 2011 to 2015 because of
higher production of wood pellets, softwood lumber and hardwood lumber,
according to the Wood Resource Quarterly
USA. According to official statistics, the US timber harvests were
practically the same in 2015 as in 2011, coming in at 355 million m3. This
appears to be quite low considering the log demand by the US forest industry.
Analysis by Wood Resources International based on derived log consumption by
the forest industry in the US and net log trade, indicates that the actual
removals of industrial roundwood were closer to 411 million m3 in 2015, and 10%
higher than in 2011.
The major reasons for the increase in log consumption over the five-year period
include higher lumber and wood pellet production. Softwood lumber production
was up by as much as 21% from 2011 to 2015, while production of hardwood lumber
increased 28% over the same period. The wood pellet sector, which is concentrated
to the Southern States and is targeting the European market, has increased
six-fold in five years but still consumes just over three percent of the total
timber harvest in the US.
The substantial rise in both softwood and hardwood lumber production in the US
over the past few years has resulted in a higher percentage of the timber
removals being shipped to sawmills in 2015 than in 2011. Over the same period,
log consumption by the country's pulp mills and log exports have declined.
Log exports from the US West Coast to Asia fell quite substantially from 2013
to 2015. In just two years, shipments were down 33% to six million m3 in 2015.
Reduced demand for US export logs has not been limited to China the past few
years but to Japan and South Korea as well. A combination of less demand for
logs by sawmills in Asia and a strong US dollar has resulted in US log
shipments falling to their lowest levels in five years. However, during the
first eight months of 2016, exports were up 13% as compared to the same period
in 2015, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Historically, there have been minimal exports of logs from the US South. This
started to change in 2011 when about 200,000 m3 of pine logs were shipped to
China, and by 2014 the volumes had almost quadrupled with India and the
Dominican Republic being added to the list of destinations. In 2016, export
volumes have picked up again and have been about 50% higher than in 2015.
Global lumber, sawlog and
pulpwood market reporting is included in the 52-page quarterly publication Wood
Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has
subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, wood chip, lumber
and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the
subscribe to the WRQ, please
go to www.woodprices.com
Source: Wood Resources International
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