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Hakan Ekstrom
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Mr. Ekstrom is the President of Wood Resources International LLC . The company is an internationally recognized forest industry consulting firm established in 1987, which publishes two quarterly timber price reports and have readers in over 25 countries. The Wood Resource Quarterly, established... More
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  • Global Trade Of Softwood Lumber Was Up Seven Percent In The First Six Months Of 2014, With Russia, Germany And Sweden Increasing Shipments The Most

    Higher demand for wood products following the global recession has resulted in a steadily increasing trade in softwood lumber the past five years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Global shipments in the first half of 2014 were up seven percent as compared to the same period in 2013.

    Demand for softwood lumber has been steadily increasing on a worldwide basis since the great recession. The higher consumption of lumber has resulted in a rise in the global trade of lumber with shipments in 2014 on pace to be the highest since 2006 and 36% higher than five years ago, which was the bottom of the decline in lumber trade, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

    About two-thirds of the world's lumber production is consumed domestically, while the remaining third is traded internationally, either to countries that consume large volumes of wood products such as the US, China and Japan, or to countries with limited domestic forest resources, including Egypt, Italy, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

    During the first half of 2014, global lumber trade was seven percent higher than during the same period in 2013. Most major exporting countries have shipped more lumber this year than last year, with only New Zealand bucking that trend.

    Russian exporting sawmills have ramped up production to record levels this year and the export volumes are up almost 15% as compared to the same period last year. Much of the rise in shipments has been to China, Egypt and the CIS countries. Lumber producers in both Sweden and Germany have also shipped more lumber in the 1H/14 than they did in the 1H/13. Export volumes for these two countries may in fact reach their highest levels in at least seven years if lumber demand in particularly Egypt, China and countries in Western Europe continues to stay strong.

    Lumber importation volumes to China, the largest softwood lumber importer in the world, have zigzagged their way upward so far this year, starting from as low as 1.1 million m3 in February and reaching the highest monthly import volume on record in July. Russia and Canada are still the two dominating suppliers, accounting for 77% of the total import volume. This share was unchanged from 2013. Other supplying countries, including Chile, the US and Sweden continue to keep about the same share of the market this year as they did in 2013.

    Dec 07 1:40 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Lumber And Log Imports To China Slowed In Early 2014 But Picked Up In The 2Q To Reach Close To Record Highs; Russian Lumber And New Zealand Logs Increased The Most

    Wood buyers in China were more active in the late spring after a slowdown during the winter months. This resulted in increased importation of logs and lumber during the 2Q, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The biggest gains were in lumber from Russia and softwood logs from New Zealand.

    A slowdown in the Chinese economy impacted the construction sector in early 2014 resulting in a decline in lumber import volumes by 16% in the 1Q/14 as compared to the previous quarter. The biggest drop was in Canadian lumber shipments, which fell to their lowest levels in two years, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly

    ( The reduced activities in the building sector during the winter months also impacted log import volumes to China, but it was more of a break in the upward trend rather than a decline, with the 1Q/14 imports being about the same as in the 4Q/13.

    Later in the spring the economy picked up steam and the GDP rose by 2.0% in the 2Q, up from 1.4% in the 1Q/14. The annual growth rate is now on target to reach close to 7.5%, which would be slightly lower than in 2013 but still considerable growth compared to most other major economies around the world. Most of the positive news in the 2Q came from the industry and retail sectors, while the real-estate market continued to be weak with housing sales being more than nine percent lower the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2013.

    Despite the reduction in house sales, China increased the importation of both lumber and logs in the 2Q with lumber volumes climbing 19% from the 1Q/14. Russia, which currently supplies about 40% of softwood lumber to the Chinese market, increased shipments by as much as 32% from the first to second quarter this year. The second largest lumber supplier Canada, only shipped two percent more volume quarter-over-quarter. Although Canada and Russia are by far the largest suppliers of lumber to China, other countries are expanding their sales to this growing market. The biggest gains have been in shipments from Chile and Europe.

    Log importation reached an all-time high in the 2Q/14 with New Zealand, the number one supplier, increasing volumes by 15% from the previous quarter. Shipment from the

    US and Canada were also higher, while log supply from Australia and Russia fell about five percent in the 2Q. Much uncertainty hovers over how the Chinese economy will do for the rest of the year but it is not likely that we will see the same bump in wood imports in the third quarter as was the seen in the second quarter. Rather, the short-term forecast is for a flat line, or even decline in log and lumber volumes landed at Chinese ports in the 3Q/14.

    Sep 30 1:57 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Log Exports From Canada And The US To Asia Have Increased This Year With The Shipment From The US South Being 130 % Higher Than In 2013

    North America continues to supply China, Japan and other Asian countries with logs for their forest products sectors. Log exports from the US and Canada in the 1Q/14 were up 14% from last year, with shipments from the US South having increased the most.

    North American log exports to Asia over the past several years have boosted profitability for timberland owners while challenging the domestic solid wood sector mainly in northwestern US and Coastal British Columbia. In the 1Q/14, the North American export volume was 14% higher than in the 1Q/13 and 30% more than the same quarter in 2012, as reported by the North American Wood Fiber Review ( Almost 53% of the overseas exports have been shipped from the US Northwest, while 41% was from British Columbia and the remaining share of shipments were split between Alaska, California and the US South.

    There are nine ports that handle breakbulk log shipments along the US West Coast. The Port of Longview in Southwest Washington exports more logs than all the other eight ports combined, according to Jones Stevedoring. In the past five quarters, each of the eight ports shipped an average of one vessel per month, while the Port at Longview loaded one vessel for Asia every three days. The major exporting companies at this location are Chugoku, Weyerhaeuser, Pacific Lumber & Shipping, Sojitz and TPT.

    Coastal British Columbia is also a major supplier of logs to the Asian markets, with a majority of the timber originating from private timberlands on Vancouver Island. Over the past year, shipments have been approximately 1.5 million m3 per quarter, which is up from an average of 1.2 million m3 per quarter during 2011 and 2012.

    Perhaps the most interesting development the past year has been the sharp increase in shipments of logs in containers from the US South. These exports have been mainly to China and India. Although the total volume is still relatively small as compared to the US West Coast export volumes, the US South share of total overseas exports from the US was over six percent during the first five months of this year as compared to only two percent for the same period in 2012.

    Total shipments of southern yellow pine were up 130% for the period January through May this year compared to the same period last year, and volumes are already 70% more than they were for all of 2012. Combined with the first reported bulk shipload departing from the Port of Baton Rouge in May, we are likely to see increased exports of logs from the Southern states in the coming years.

    Sep 30 1:55 PM | Link | Comment!
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