U.S. softwood lumber production climbs to 13.421 bbf in H1, up 8.7% from last year; consumption grows 3.1% to 17.067 bbf: WWPA

LOS ANGELES , September 6, 2011 () – Sawmills in the U.S. produced 13.421 billion board feet (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first half, up 8.7% on last year's figure of 12.342 bbf, according to the latest statistics from the Western Wood Products Assn.

Production by Western U.S. sawmills was 5.979 bbf, 6.2% higher than in the same period last year (5.630 bbf). Output from Southern producers also increased, by 11.1% to 6.733 bbf from last year’s figure of 6.060 bbf.

For the month of June, U.S. production rose by 6.3% to 2.324 bbf compared to May’s level of 2.186 bbf. Against volumes recorded last June (2.105 bbf), output was up 10.4%.

Western sawmill production for the month of June increased by 11.4% against the figure for May, from 927 million board feet (mmbf) to 1.032 bbf. Compared to June 2010, output rose by 14.3% (903 mmbf).

Southern sawmills increased production by 2.2% between May and June, from 1.144 bbf to 1.169 bbf. Compared with output in June last year (1.091 bbf), production increased by 7.1%.

U.S. lumber consumption increased during the first six months of the year by 3.1% compared with the same period in 2010, from 16.547 bbf to 17.067 bbf. For June alone, consumption rose by 3.5% over May, from 2.859 bbf to 2.958 bbf; and was up 1.3% compared with June 2010 (2.919 bbf).

Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption

Canadian production grew during the first six months to 11.400 bbf, an increase of 2.4% over the same period in 2010 (11.130 bbf).

Within this total, British Columbia’s output rose by 7.1% from last year’s figure of 5.746 bbf to 6.153 bbf. Output East of the Rockies fell during the first six months to 5.247 bbf, down 2.5% from the 5.364 bbf produced in the first half of 2010.

On a month-over-month basis, total Canadian production fell by 0.9% during June to 1.873 bbf against May’s figure of 1.889 bbf. Compared with June 2010, output was also down, by 2.1% from 1.913 bbf.

In British Columbia, production during June 2011 decreased by 0.5% to 1.204 bbf from1.029 bbf in May. Compared with June 2010, producers in British Columbia increased volumes by 4.6% from 978 mmbf.

Production East of the Rockies fell by 1.3% during June from 860 mmbf in May to 849 mmbf. Compared with June 2010, output was down 9.2% from 935 mmbf.

Canadian consumption dropped by 4.3% during the first six months compared with the same period in 2010, from 4.826 bbf to 4.620 bbf. Figures for June alone showed an increase of 4.7% over May (776 mmbf) to 813 mmbf. Compared with June 2010, overall consumption increased 8.7% from 748 mmbf.

U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories

As a percentage of practical capacity, U.S. production averaged 74% in the first half, compared with 68% in the same period in 2010. Canada’s figure rose from 74% in the first half of 2010 to 76% this year.

U.S. inventories increased in June by 3.1% to 2.707 bbf against 2.626 bbf a year earlier. Canadian inventories increased during June to 2.801 bbf, up 10.2% on June 2010 (2.541 bbf).

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