North American structural panel production climbs 6.9% year-over-year to 7.190 bsf in Q1; OSB output advances 8.5% to 4.345 bsf, plywood gains 4.7% to reach 2.845 bsf: APA

LOS ANGELES , April 23, 2013 () – North American structural panel production increased 6.9% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2013 to 7.190 billion sq. ft. (bsf) from 6.723 bsf, according to figures released on April 22 by APA -The Engineered Wood Assn., based in Tacoma, Washington.

U.S. structural panel production in Q1 was 5.253 bsf, compared with 4.878 bsf a year earlier and 5.027 in Q4. Canadian production was 1.937 bsf in Q1, compared with 1.845 bsf in Q1 2012 and 1.874 bsf in Q4.

North American OSB production reached 4.345 bsf in the first quarter of 2013, up 8.5% year-over-year (4.005 bsf) and 3.7% higher than output in Q4, 2012 of 4.190 bsf.

Of that total, the U.S. accounted for 2.868 bsf of OSB and Canada for 1.477 bsf. Production by U.S. OSB mills was 2.604 bsf in Q1 last year and 2.772 bsf in Q4. Canadian mils produced 1.401 bsf in Q1 2012 and 1.418 in Q4.

North American plywood production also increased year-over-year to 2.845 bsf – a gain of 4.7% compared with Q1 last year (2.718 bsf) and up 4.9% from Q4 (2.711 bsf). An increase in production of sheathing, siding and other products offset a decline in output of sanded and floor sheathing, APA reported.

U.S. plywood output in Q1 was 2.385 bsf, compared with 2.274 bsf in Q1 last year and 2.255 bsf in Q4.

Canadian plywood mills produced 460 million sq. ft. (mmsf) in Q1, up from 444 mmsf a year earlier and slightly higher than output in Q4 of 456 mmsf.

Consumption

In the first quarter, consumption of U.S. and Canadian structural panels (plywood and OSB) reached 7.083 bsf, a 7.9% year-over-year increase from 6.565 bsf and up from 6.806 bsf in Q4.

Plywood consumption was 2.854 bsf in Q1 compared with 2.705 bsf in Q1 last year and 2.742 bsf in Q4. OSB consumption was 4.229 bsf, up from 3.860 bsf a year earlier and 4.064 in Q4.

The U.S. accounted for 5.996 bsf of the North American structural panel total, up from 5.484 bsf in Q1 last year, and higher than the Q4 total of 5.747 bsf. The U.S. total comprised 2.270 bsf of plywood, and 3.726 bsf of OSB.

U.S. consumption of plywood was 2.270 bsf, up 3.4% year-over-year (2.195 bsf), while OSB consumption increased by 13.3% from 3.289 bsf to 3.726 bsf.

In Canada, consumption of plywood was 584 mmsf, up 14.5% from 510 mmsf a year earlier, but OSB consumption dropped 11.9% to 503 mmsf from 571 mmsf.

OSB consumption is heavily dependent on the residential housing market, and APA noted that housing starts are forecast to decline in Canada this year.

Imports/exports

North American imports of offshore structural panels reached 108 mmsf, compared with 87 mmsf in Q1, 2012 and 124 mmsf in Q4.

Total U.S. imports of structural panels, including those from Canada, were 1.041 mmsf, up from 880 mmsf a year earlier and 984 mmsf in Q4. Of this total, 58% was from Chile, 23% from Brazil and 18% from China.

There were no offshore imports of OSB in the first quarter, while imports from Canada totaled 920 mmsf compared with 770 mmsf in Q1 last year and 862 mmsf in Q4. Plywood imports were 121 mmsf compared with 109 mmsf in Q1 2012 and 122 mmsf in Q4 2012.

Total Canadian imports of structural panels in Q1 were 205 mmsf, of which 79% was supplied from China – representing a volume of 3 mmsf, 14% from Chile and 4% from Brazil, APA reported.

Canadian imports of plywood were 164 mmsf, of which 144 mmsf was from the U.S., while OSB imports were 41 mmsf, with 38 mmsf supplied from the U.S.

Exports of plywood from the U.S. in Q1 were 236 mmsf and U.S. exports of OSB were 62 mmsf, compared with plywood exports of 188 mmsf for the corresponding quarter in 2012 and 86 mmsf of OSB exports.

Canadian plywood exports increased to 40 mmsf in Q1 from 34 mmsf in the year earlier, while OSB exports grew to 1.015 bsf from 868 mmsf.

Total offshore exports of U.S. and Canadian plywood, excluding exports to Canada and the U.S., reached 96 mmsf in Q1, little changed from 95 mmsf a year earlier, reported APA. Most of the volume was shipped to Mexico, China and the Caribbean.

Engineered wood production

North American glulam production in Q1 was 58.7 million board ft. (mmbf), up 17.4% from 50.0 mmbf in the corresponding quarter of 2012, and compared with 55.5 mmbf in Q4. U.S. production accounted for 53.8 mmbf of the total

I-joist production gained in comparison with both Q1 last year and Q4, at 156.6 million linear feet, up 25.2% from 125.1 million linear feet a year earlier and 132.2 million linear feet in Q4 2012. Of the total, U.S. production accounted for 106.5 million linear feet, and Canada for 50.1 million linear feet.

North America’s LVL output reached 14.3 million cubic ft. in Q1, up 10.9% from 12.9 million cubic ft. in Q1 last year and 11.2 million cubic ft. in Q4.

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