Western U.S. sawmills produced 7.7% more lumber in the 1Q/2018

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Softwood lumber output in the first three months of 2018 by Western U.S. sawmills totaled 3.688 billion board ft. (bbf), a 7.7% increase from 3.424 bbf in the same period of 2017, according to the latest data from the Western Wood Products Assn. (WWPA) of Portland, Oregon.

Of the three-month total, Coastal mills accounted for 2.288 bbf, a 9.3% gain from 2.092 bbf a year earlier, while Inland mills produced 1.291 bbf, up 6.0% from 1.218 bbf in the corresponding period of the previous year. Production by California redwood sawmills in the first three months of 2018 was down 3.9% to 109 million board feet (mmbf) from 114 mmbf a year ago.

In the month of March, Western U.S. sawmills produced 1.262 bbf, a 0.7% year-over-year increase from 1.254 bbf, and up 9.1% from February’s output of 1.157 bbf.

Coastal mills produced 792 mmbf of the March 2018 total, up 4.1% from 761 mmbf a year ago, and up 10.1% compared with February’s output of 719 mmbf. Inland production in March was down 0.9% year-over-year to 433 mmbf from 437 mmbf, and up 6.9% compared with 406 mmbf in February.

California redwood production in March was 36 mmbf, down 34.1% year-over-year from 55 mmbf and up 12.6% compared with February’s 32 mmbf.

Western softwood lumber inventories in March at 1.224 bbf were up 2.8% compared with 1.191 bbf in March 2017.

Western softwood lumber mills in the year through March operated at 84% of practical capacity, compared with 78% for the corresponding period in 2017.

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