US sawmills produce 5.033 bbf of softwood lumber in first two months of 2013, up from 4.597 bbf a year earlier; output from Canadian mills increases 7.2% to 4.067 bbf: WWPA

LOS ANGELES , May 8, 2013 () –
U.S. sawmills produced 5.033 billion board feet (bbf) in the first two months of 2013, a gain of 9.5% from 4.597 bbf in the same period of 2012, according to the Western Wood Products Assn.’s (WWPA) latest Lumber Track report.

Western U.S. sawmills accounted for 2.271 bbf of that total, an increase of 11.8% compared with 2012 (2.031 bbf). Production at southern U.S. sawmills reached 2.490 bbf in the two-month period, an increase of 7.4% from 2.323 bbf a year earlier.

Production for the month of February was 2.414 bbf – up 5.4% from Feb. 2012 (2.296 bbf), but 7.8% lower than production in January 2013 of 2.619 bbf, WWPA reported.

Of the February total, Western sawmills accounted for 1.112 bbf – up 8.1% year-over-year (1.029 bbf), but down 4% from 1.159 bbf in January. Output from Southern U.S. sawmills was 1.174 bbf in February, a 3% gain over last year (1.322 bbf) but 11.2% lower than production in January 2013 of 1.322 bbf.

Consumption of U.S. softwood lumber grew 10.8% in the first two months, to 6.338 bbf from 5.719 bbf a year earlier. In February alone, the U.S. consumed 3.076 bbf, a gain of 5.8% from February last year (2.907 bbf), but down 5.7% from January (3.362 bbf).

Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption

Canadian softwood lumber production increased by 7.2% in the first two months of 2013, to 4.067 bbf from 3.793 bbf a year earlier.

Of that total, production in British Columbia accounted for 2.151 bbf – up 2.4% from 2,100 bbf in the same period a year ago. Output from sawmills east of the Rockies was 1.916 bbf, which was 13.1% higher than last year’s 1.693 bbf.

In February alone, Canadian sawmills produced 2.033 bbf, a year-over-year gain of 4.9% from 1.938 bbf, but down 0.1% from January (2.034 bbf).

British Columbia accounted for 1.060 bbf of February’s production, down 0.3% from the same month last year (1.063 bbf) and 2.9% lower than output in January of 1.091 bbf. Sawmills east of the Rockies produced 973 million board ft. (mmbf) in February, up 11.2% from 875 mmbf a year ago and 3.2% above January’s 943 mmbf.

Canadian softwood lumber consumption was 1.292 bbf in the first two months, a drop of 7.7% from last year (1,400 bbf). Consumption in February alone was 558 mmbf – down 19.3% from 691 mmbf in February 2012 and 24% lower than consumption in January 2013 of 734 mmbf.

U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories

U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 83% in the first two months, up from 76% in the same period last year. In Canada, the figure was 87%, up from 83% in 2012.

U.S. inventories increased by 2.7% in February to 2.999 bbf from 2.921 bbf. In Canada, inventories were 5% higher year-over-year at 2.805 bbf compared with 2.672 bbf in February 2012.

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