Global softwood lumber prices continued their two-year climb in the

1Q/18 with the pace being higher in North America than in the Nordic

countries, Russia and China, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.


Lumber Markets – North America

After softwood lumber consumption in the US reached a ten-year high in 2017, demand

fell in early 2018. Despite the reduced first quarter consumption, lumber production on the

US west coast was actually up by 9% y-o-y when compared to the 1Q/17 due to strong

demand from China. In fact, shipments to China during the 1Q/2018 were up almost 50%

as compared to the 1Q/17.

While lumber production in Canada’s eastern provinces increased slightly in early 2018,

sawmills in British Columbia reduced their production by an estimated three percent in the

1Q/18 as compared to the 1Q/17. Production levels were down partly because of lower

demand for wood in the US during the winter season, but also because of reduced

availability of logs due to severe weather conditions. The weather also impacted lumber

shipments by rail, resulting in substantial slowing in exports from BC.

Lumber markets – Northern Europe

In the Nordic countries, the sawmilling industry has seen their markets improve both in

regard to demand and to pricing during the past year. Although export volumes declined

somewhat in early 2018 as compared the same period in 2017, prices increased, reaching

the third highest level seen in the past decade (in local currencies). Sawmills in Finland

and Sweden have increased their presence in different markets in 2018, with Swedish

sawmills predominantly expanding sales in Europe, and Finnish exports increasing to the

Middle East and Japan, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). Both countries

reduced sales to China during the typically slow season of January and February when the

Chinese New Year is celebrated.

This is a brief excerpt from the newly released market report Wood Resource Quarterly.

To read the full 56-page quarterly report, please visit to initiate an

annual subscription.


The Working Forest