Western US sawmills softwood lumber production up 5.8% in Jan.-Aug. 2018

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Western U.S. sawmills produced 9.868 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first eight months, an increase of 5.8% from 9.327 bbf in the same period last year, reported the Western Wood Products Assn. (WWPA) of Portland, Oregon.

Coastal mills accounted for 6.213 bbf in the eight-month period, up 7.0% from 5.807 bbf last year. Inland mills contributed 3.345 bbf, up 4.9% from 3.189 bbf, while California redwood production at 310 million board ft. (mmbf) was down 6.3% from 331 mmbf at the same time last year.

In August alone, Western U.S. sawmills produced 1.280 bbf, a year-over-year drop of 2.0% from 1.306 bbf, but up 9.2% from 1.172 bbf in July this year.

Coastal mills contributed 791 mmbf to output in August, level with last year and up 6.3% from 744 mmbf in the previous month. Inland mills accounted for 443 mmbf, down 4.6% from last year’s 465 mmbf, but up 14.3% from 388 mmbf in July.

California redwood mills produced 46 mmbf in August, a year-over-year drop of 9.8% from 51 mmbf, but up 15.3% from 40 mmbf in July.

Western softwood lumber inventories in August grew 1.6% to 1.190 bbf from 1.172 bbf at the same time last year.

Production as a percent of practical capacity in August 2018 was 79%, down from 81% in August 2017 and from 80% in July 2018. In the first eight months, production as a percent of practical capacity was 82%, up from 78% in the same period last year.

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