US sawmills produce 24.144 bbf of lumber in first 10 months of 2012, up 7.4% from 22.472 bbf in same period a year earlier; output in October climbs 18.4% to 2.630 bbf: WWPA

LOS ANGELES , January 11, 2013 () – U.S. sawmills produced 24.144 billion board feet (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first 10 months of 2012, up 7.4 % from 22.472 bbf in the same period of 2011, according to the latest Lumber Track report from the Western Wood Products Assn.

Western U.S. sawmills contributed 10.838 bbf of that total, an increase of 9.7% from 9.882 bbf a year earlier, while Southern U.S. sawmills contributed 12.030 bbf – a 5.6% gain from 11.392 bbf in the same period of 2011.

In October alone, output was 2.630 bbf, up 18.4% from October 2011 (2.221 bbf), and 18.9% higher than production in Sept. 2012 of 2.212 bbf.

Western sawmills produced 1.226 bbf of October’s total production, up 27.5% year-over-year from 961 million board ft., and 16.9% ahead of the previous month’s total of 1.082 bbf. Mills in the South produced 1.265 bbf - a gain of 10.9% from 1.141 bbf in October 2011 and 16.9% higher than production in September 2012 of 1.082 bbf.

Softwood lumber consumption reached 30.984 bbf in the first 10 months of 2012, an 8.0 % increase over the same period of 2011 (28.698 bbf). October’s consumption was 3.390 bbf, up 15.5% year-over-year from 2.936 bbf and 18.4% higher than September’s total of 2.864 bbf.

Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption

Canadian sawmills produced 19.553 bbf in the first 10 months of 2012, up 5.0% from 187.621 bbf a year earlier.

Sawmills in British Columbia produced 10.440 bbf of that total, a gain of 2.6% from October 2011 (10.171 bbf ), while sawmills East of the Rockies accounted for 9.113 bbf, up 7.8% from last year (8.451 bbf).

Canadian production in October 2012 was 2.150 bbf, up 8.4% from the same month a year earlier (1.983 bbf) and 10.7% above September’s output of 1.942 bbf.

Sawmills in British Columbia accounted for 1.088 bbf of October’s output, a 2.8% year-over-year gain from 1.059 bbf, and an increase of 12.9% from September’s total of 964 mmbf. Sawmills East of the Rockies increased production by 14.9% to 1.061 bbf from 924 mmbf in October 2011, and by 8.6% from 977 mmbf in September.

Canadian softwood lumber consumption was 6.847 bbf in the first 10 months, a gain of 2.0% from the same period of 2011 (6.712 bbf). Consumption in October alone was 755 mmbf, up 11.2% from October 2011 (679 mmbf) and 19.8% higher than the 631 mmbf consumed in September 2012.

U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories

U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 78% in the 10 months to October 2012, compared with 73% in the same period last year. In Canada, the figure was 83%, up from 80% a year earlier.

U.S. inventories increased 6.9% to 3.004 bbf in October from 2.810 bbf a year earlier. In Canada, mills reduced inventories by 6.1% to 2.512 bbf from 2.675 bbf.

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