North American structural panel production climbs 7.5% in Q3 year-over-year to 7.633 bsf; 14% increase in US housing starts to annual rate of 887,000 units supports 6.8% increase in consumption to 7.385 bsf: APA

LOS ANGELES , October 23, 2013 () – North American structural panel production climbed 7.5% in Q3 to 7.633 billion sq. ft. (bsf) from 7.098 bsf in the same quarter last year, according to data released on Oct. 21 by APA -The Engineered Wood Assn. of Tacoma, Washington.

The APA noted that U.S. housing starts were up 14% year-over year in Q3 at an annual rate of 887,000 units, with single-family and multi-family starts up 12% and 23% respectively. Housing starts in Canada were down 12.2% from Q3 last year.

U.S. structural panel production in Q3 was 5.590 bsf, compared with 5.214 bsf a year earlier and 5.413 bsf in Q2. Canadian production was 2.043 bsf in Q3, compared with 1.884 bsf a year earlier and 2.047 bsf in Q2.

North American OSB production was 4.869 bsf in Q3, up 13.2% from last year (4.303 bsf), and 4.8% higher than output in Q2 of 4.646 bsf.

The U.S. accounted for 3.266 bsf of the Q3 total compared with 2.883 bsf a year ago and 3.053 bsf in Q2. Canada accounted for 1.603 bsf of the Q3 total, compared with 1.420 bsf a year ago and 1.593 bsf in Q2 this year.

APA noted that Sturd-I-Floor production rose 12.0% on a year-over-year basis, sheathing increased by 14.4% and siding by 6.9%.

North American plywood production dropped 1.1% to 2.764 bsf in Q3 from 2.795 bsf a year earlier, and was also down 1.8% from output in the second quarter (2.814 bsf). APA noted a 9.7% decline in sanded production in the U.S., although Sturd-I-Floor, sheathing and siding output increased by 4.6%, 1.8% and 10.8% respectively.

U.S. plywood mills produced 2.324 bsf in Q3, compared with 2.331 bsf last year and 2.360 bsf in Q2. Canadian mills produced 440 mmsf, down from the 464 mmsf produced in Q3 last year, and from the 454 mmsf produced in Q2.

Consumption

Apparent consumption of structural panels increased 6.8% in Q3, to 7.385 bsf from 6.914 bsf a year ago, APA reported.

Total US structural panel consumption was 9.9% higher than last year at 6.410 bsf, but Canadian consumption dropped 9.6% year-over-year to 975 million sq. ft. (mmsf).

Apparent U.S. plywood consumption was 2.234 bsf, up 2.0% from a year ago (2.190 bsf), while OSB consumption was up 14.6% year-over-year in the U.S. to 4.176 bsf. But Canadian plywood consumption plunged 21.6% from Q3 last year to 473 mmsf, while OSB consumption increased by 5.5% to 502 mmsf.

Imports/exports

North American imports of offshore structural panels reached 119 mmsf in Q3, up from 90 mmsf in Q3, 2012, but down from imports in Q2 of 180 mmsf, APA reported.

Total U.S. imports of structural panels in Q3, including those from Canada, were 1.118 bsf, up from 954 mmsf a year earlier, but down from 1.205 bsf in Q2. APA reported that U.S. imports of plywood from offshore sources were estimated at 94 mmsf in Q3, up 17.5% from the same period last year.

U.S. offshore imports of OSB increased to 16 mmsf in Q3 from 12 mmsf in Q2.

Total Canadian imports of structural panels in Q3 were 103 mmsf, down from 194 mmsf a year earlier and 114 mmsf in Q2.

Exports

Exports of plywood from the U.S., including shipments to Canada, totaled 222 mmsf in Q3, compared with 247 mmsf a year earlier. Exports from Canada, including those to the U.S., were 42 mmsf, up from 28 mmsf a year earlier.

U.S. plywood exports to non-Canadian markets reached 156 mmsf in Q3, led by a surge in exports to China, APA reported.

Offshore OSB exports from the U.S. and Canada were 208 mmsf in Q3, with 73% of shipments going to Asia and 10% to Mexico.

U.S. exports of OSB were 76 mmsf, compared with 86 mmsf a year earlier. Canadian OSB exports in Q3, including shipments to the U.S., reached 1.130 bsf, up from 971 mmsf a year earlier.

Engineered wood production

North American glulam production was 65.1 million board ft. (mmbf) in Q3, a 2.2% year-over-year increase from 63.7 mmbf in Q3 last year but down 1.2% from Q2 (65.9 mmbf). The U.S. accounted for 58.9 mmbf of the Q3 total.

I-joist production increased 6.1% on a year-over-year basis to 162.3 million linear ft. in Q3 from 153.0 million linear ft. in Q3 last year, and was up 5.0% from Q2 (154.6 million linear ft.). Of the quarterly total, U.S. production accounted for 111.0 million linear feet, and Canada for 51.3 million linear feet.

North America’s LVL output in Q3 was up year-over-year by 14.7%, and was 2.1% higher than in Q2, at 14.8 million cubic ft.

The primary source of this article is APA - The Engineered Wood Assn., Tacoma, Washington, on Oct. 21, 2013.

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