Western U.S. sawmills produce 2.3% less softwood lumber in first five months

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Western U.S. sawmills produced 6.025 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first five months of 2019, a 2.3% drop from 6.164 bbf a year earlier, the Western Wood Products Assn. (WWPA) of Portland, Oregon, reported.

Coastal mills accounted for 3.792 bbf of the five-month total, a 2.0% year-over-year decline from 3.868 bbf, while inland mills produced 1.990 bbf, down 6.1% from 2.119 bbf. Conversely, California redwood production was up 37.2% to 242 million board ft. (mmbf from 176 mmbf in the same period of 2018.

In May 2019, output by Western U.S. mills was 1.228 bbf, a decline of 4.1% from 1.281 bbf last year, and down 2.4% from 1.258 bbf in April 2019.

Coastal mills accounted for 774 mmbf of May’s output, down 3.0% from 798 mmbf a year earlier, and 3.1% lower than the 799 mmbf produced in April this year. Inland mills accounted for 401 mmbf, down 7.8% from last year’s 435 mmbf, and 3.2% below output in April 2019 of 414 mmbf.

California redwood production advanced 9.9% in May to 53 mmbf from 48 mmbf in May 2018, and was up 18.2% from 45 mmbf in the previous month.

Western softwood lumber inventories were up 2.2% in May to 1.235 bbf from 1.208 bbf a year earlier.

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