News and developments in International Forestry

Global Timber prices going high as China buying more

Lumber exports to China from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2012, jumping to 89.4 million board feet, an increase of 97.2 percent compared to the third quarter of the year, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. At the same time, total lumber exports to all countries from the West coast increased about 21 percent, from 185.6 million board feet in the third quarter of 2012 to 224.2 million board feet.

“ China continues to maintain a dominant position in the log export market,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. “Over 271 million board feet, or 60 percent of the West coast’s log exports, were shipped to China during the fourth quarter of 2012.”

Fourth-quarter total log exports from the West coast were over 4.4 percent higher than they were in 2011 because of a 19-percent increase in shipments to China.

Other highlights of 2012:

The total value of lumber exported through the West coast increased about 17 percent to $156 million in the final quarter of 2012, while the total value of exported logs increased over 19 percent to $309 million;
The total 2012 volume of logs exported from the West coast represents about 60 percent of the total U.S. log export;
The total 2012 volume of lumber exported from the West coast represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. lumber export.

Zhou compiled the statistics using data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, an annual station publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production as well as the trade of forest products and employment in forest industries.