Increasing lumber consumption

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Softwood sawlog prices continued their slide throughout the world in the 2Q/12, and the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) was down for the fourth consecutive quarter to $82.90/m3. The Index was down 3.4 % from the 1Q/12, and 11.5 % from 2Q/11. Log prices were down in practically all major regions worldwide both in the local currencies and in US dollar terms, Western US and British Columbia being the only exceptions thanks to strong exports of lumber to Asia and higher demand for lumber in the US.

In May, lumber consumption in the US was 13% higher than in May 2011 and was the highest seen in the month of May since 2008. The Canadian sawmilling industry ramped up production the first five months of 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011. Pine lumber prices in the US South have gone up almost 35 % this year, while sprucepine- fir (SPF) prices in Canada have increased by about 30 %. Sawmills in Finland and Sweden increased exports year-over-year by almost 10% the first five months of 2012. Export prices in the 2Q/12 were below the average for the past three years.

China’s importation of softwood lumber increased in the 2Q/12, up 27% from 1Q/12, but only less than one percent more than the 2Q/11. During the 2Q/12, lumber prices in Japan for both domestic and imported softwood lumber trended upward but were still generally lower this year than in 2011.

In the 2Q/12, woody biomass prices were down between 2-10% in the key biomass consuming region of the US as compared to the 1Q/12. North American shipments of pellets to Europe continue to steadily increase, reaching a new high in the 1Q/12. Pellet prices in Europe experienced a seasonal decline during the summer months.
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