U.S. softwood lumber production climbs 8.5% to 18.008 bbf in year to August; output from Southern sawmills is 9.2% higher at 8.995 bbf: WWPA

LOS ANGELES , November 7, 2011 () – Softwood lumber production by U.S. sawmills reached 18.008 billion board feet (bbf) in the eight-month period to August 2011, an 8.5% increase against output in the same period last year of 16.599 bbf.

Western sawmills increased output by 7.7% during the period to 8.062 bbf from last year’s figure of 7.484 bbf, according to data released by the Western Wood Product’s Assn. (WWPA) on Nov. 4. Production from southern mills rose by 9.2% to 8.995 bbf, against last year’s total of 8.238 bbf.

During the month of August, U.S. production levels rose 3.1% from July’s 2.232 bbf to 2.301 bbf - a 7.3% increase over August 2010 (2.145 bbf).

Compared with August 2010, Western sawmills increased production this year by 15.7% from 970 million board feet (mmbf) to 1.123 bbf. This was 17% higher than July’s output of 960 mmbf.

On a month-by-month basis, southern sawmills produced 8.4% less in August than in July's 1.154 bbf at 1.057 bbf. Compared with volumes produced in August 2010, output was down 0.4% from 1.061 bbf.

Lumber consumption in the U.S. increased by 3.3% in the first eight months to 22.894 bbf from 22.154 bbf in the same period last year. In the month of August alone, volumes consumed were 2.906 bbf, a rise of 1.4% against July’s level of 2.866 bbf, and a 5.3% increase over the first eight months of 2010 (2.760 bbf).

Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption

In the first eight months of this year, Canadian production increased 2.2% compared with the same period in 2010, from 14.788 bbf to 15.116 bbf.

Output from British Columbia rose by 7.2% in the period to 8.234 bbf from 7.681 bbf a year earlier. Mills east of the Rockies reduced production to 6.882 bbf, a drop of 3.2% over the eight-month period in 2010 (7.107 bbf).

Canada’s output month-over-month increased marginally by 0.8% in August to 1.865 bbf, compared with 1.851 bbf in July. In August alone, output was up by 1.2% over the same month last year (1.843 bbf).

British Columbian mills produced 0.8% more lumber in August than July (1.036 bbf) at 1.044 bbf. Against the same month last year (931 mmbf), output rose by 12.2%).

East of the Rockies, production rose in August to 820 mmbf a 0.7% increase over July’s volume of 814 mmbf, but the figure was 10% lower than in August 2010 (912 mmbf).

During the eight months to the end of August, Canadian consumption fell by 5.5% from last year from 6.496 bbf to 6.136 bbf. In the month of August alone, consumption fell by 11.1% to 713 mmbf from July’s level of 802 mmbf. It was also lower than in August 2010, falling 10.5% from 797 mmbf.

U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories

As a percentage of practical capacity, output from the U.S. averaged 75% in the first eight months of the year, compared with 69% in the same period of 2010. The figures for Canada were 75% and 73% respectively.

U.S. inventories grew by 5.2% in August this year from 2.601 bbf last year to 2.736 bbf. Canadian inventory levels grew by 6.6% to 2.682 bbf this August against the same month last year (2.516 bbf).


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