U.S. West coast H1 lumber exports rise 83% year-over-year to 457.1 mmbf; softwood log exports rise 79% to 982.2 mmbf; sharp increases mainly fueled by high demand from China

PORTLAND, Oregon , September 2, 2011 (press release) – A total of 569.2 million board feet of softwood logs and 232.2 million board feet of softwood lumber were exported from the West coast in April, May, and June, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station.

“The volume of softwood log exports was up 37.8 percent from 413.1 million board feet in the first quarter of 2011, while the volume of softwood lumber exports was up 3.3 percent from 224.9 million board feet,” said Debra Warren, a research economist with the station.

Compared to the first half of 2010, 2011 log and lumber exports through June of this year increased 79 and 83 percent, respectively. The sharp increase is due mostly to the high demand for logs and lumber in China.

Warren, who compiled the statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission, annually authors Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, a publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production and prices as well as employment in forest industries. The 2010 report is available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/38431.

Other highlights of this year’s second quarter:

Softwood Logs

· Log exports from Oregon and Washington totaled 505.2 million board feet, up 75.1 percent from the 2011 first quarter volume of 379.5 million board feet. A total of 18.8 million board feet of logs was exported from northern California, up from 9.9 million board feet in the first quarter of 2011. Alaska exported a total of 45.2 million board feet in the second quarter of 2011, compared with 23.7 in the first quarter of 2011.

· Some 403.7 million board feet (70.9 percent) of the second quarter 2011 West coast log exports went to China, 83.3 million board feet (14.6 percent) to Japan, and 78.3 million board feet (13.8 percent) to South Korea.

· Douglas-fir accounted for 55.6 percent of these log exports; western hemlock, 28.9 percent; spruce, 11.1 percent; and other softwoods, 4.4 percent.

· The total value of log shipments was $393.8 million at the ports of exportation, and the average value was $691.83 per thousand board feet. Douglas-fir averaged $836.57 per thousand board feet; hemlock, $537.14; spruce, $325.78; and other softwoods, $719.90.

Total Log Exports for the First 6 Months of 2010 and 2011 (in million board feet)
                                                             2010                2011
Oregon                                                 265.5               518.5
Washington                                          200.6               366.2
Alaska                                                    80.6                 68.8
Northern California                                  1.9                  28.7
                                    Totals                548.6               982.2   = 79.0% increase

Softwood Lumber

· Lumber exports from Oregon and Washington totaled 201.3 million board feet, down 5.7 percent from the 2011 first quarter volume of 213.5 million board feet. A total of 31.0 million board feet was exported from northern California, compared with 11.4 million board feet in the first quarter of 2011.

· Alaska exported no lumber during the first half of 2011.

· Some 95.4 million board feet (41.1 percent) of the second quarter 2011 West coast softwood lumber exports went to China, 55.7 million board feet (24.0 percent) to Canada, 42.6 million board feet (18.3 percent) to Japan, 3.9 million board feet (1.7 percent) to South Korea, 3.8 million board feet (1.6 percent) to the Philippines, 3.3 million board feet (1.4 percent) to Indonesia, and 2.4 million board feet (1.1 percent) to Australia.

· Douglas-fir accounted for 40.5 percent of the second quarter 2011 softwood lumber exports; cedars, 3.0 percent; western hemlock, 14.5 percent; and other softwoods, 42.0 percent.

· The total value of lumber shipments was $148.6 million at the ports of exportation, and the average value was $639.80 per thousand board feet. Douglas-fir averaged $708.98 per thousand board feet; cedars, $1,193.95; western hemlock, $617.34; and other softwoods, $541.47.

Total Lumber Exports for the First 6 Months of 2010 and 2011 (in million board feet)
                                                            2010                 2011
            Oregon                                      12.2                 45.9
            Washington                              229.4               368.8
            Northern California                      8.2                  42.4
                                    Totals               249.8                457.1   = 83.0% increase

The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, and about 425 employees.

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