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Softwood sawlog prices continue to soar in the Pacific Northwest, with Douglas-fir prices reaching pre-recession levels. The US South continues to lead as the highest margin sawmill region in North America given its low-cost log structure. Lumber shipments from Canada to the US are on track to decline in 2017 for the first time in five years. Chinese logging ban to boost demand for foreign timber.
Douglas-fir log prices continue to surge in the Pacific Northwest as log supply shortage remains a major challenge. US exports of softwood logs to Canada continue to decline, on track to two-decade low. Commerce levies final countervailing and anti-dumping duties of 20.83 percent on Canadian lumber shipments to the US. New-home sales surge to 10-year high.
Douglas-fir #2 sawlog prices have converged across the West Coast. Australia has tripled its softwood log export volumes between 2012 and 2016. US softwood lumber imports from Canada through September are 8.5 percent lower compared with the same period in 2016. Homeownership rates have inched off of historical lows in 2017 after bottoming out in 2016Q2.
US timberland transactions poised to double over the next five years. The spread between Douglas-fir and whitewood log prices remains relatively narrow as strong demand from China pushes up whitewood prices. New Zealand structural log prices hit a new record high. Sawmill margins in US South rising through 2017 but fell in Brazil and Russia.
Canadian lumber shipments to the US decline in May by almost 20 percent month-over-month as Canadian producers assess countervailing duties in late April. Whitewood export sawlog prices have breached US$700/mbf in the Puget Sound region. Prices for softwood pulpwood roundwood in the Pacific Northwest and the US South are diverging again. Housing affordability continues to slide, though still high in historical terms.
New Zealand structural log prices hit highest level in more than two decades. The spread between Douglas-fir log prices across the West Coast is shrinking again. Labor shortage in the construction sector shows signs of easing. US housing starts end slide, climbed 8.3 percent in June.
Chinese demand for softwood logs and lumber continues to grow. US imported 16 percent less lumber from Canada in 2017Q1 year-over-year. Southern yellow pine and SPF lumber prices have returned to levels traded prior to the 90-day retroactive duty period. US housing market has largely returned to normal ten years after onset of recession.
The share of US log exports to China coming from the US South has surged from three percent in 2016Q1 to 21 percent in 2017Q1. US softwood lumber imports from offshore markets increase considerably in 2017Q1. Western hemlock prices in Oregon have entered their seasonal improvement phase. Changes taking place in the log supply chain within China could pose a threat to New Zealand logs.
US lumber prices are soaring, reaching levels last seen more than a decade ago. Canadian softwood lumber exports to the US assessed a preliminary countervailing duty rate of 19.88 percent. The spread between Douglas-fir and whitewoods log prices is slowly widening as US housing markets continue to recover and export demand softens. China’s softwood lumber imports rose more than 20 percent in 2016, compared with 2015.
BC log exports to Asia soar in 2016, second only to 2013 volumes. China’s softwood lumber imports hit a new record in 2016. Sawmill margins in the Willamette Valley region increase as log prices slightly decline and lumber prices strengthen. Despite a small decline in 2016, housing affordability remains favorable in historical terms.