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2013 Forisk Timber Price Forecast: Framing the Outlook

This is the fifth in a series related to Forisk’s 2013 forecast of softwood stumpage prices in the United States.

In the 2013 Forisk Forecast published in March, four key themes frame the outlook for the next ten years:

  • Timber price performancehow did timber markets perform in 2012 relative to Forisk’s expectations for 2012?  A detailed self-assessment provides a necessary testing of key assumptions.
  • Capital investment:  where have forest industry firms decided to allocate capital for 2013 and moving forward?  Since timber forecasts are applied locally, capital flows reinforce which states will have the “iron in the ground” to satisfy growing demand.
  • Forest supplies: what have we learned about the relative supplies of pine grade and pulpwood and their actual or perceived impacts on stumpage markets?  In the past two years, we observed an eroding of the price-to-demand response in states that corresponded with excess pine grade inventories.
  • Demographics: how do current demographic trends in the U.S. compare to our historic understanding of how population changes relative to wood demand and housing?  At the end of the day, we must confirm the expectation of fundamental demand for wood products.

In the South, the Forisk Forecast includes state-by-state, year-by-year prices for 11 Southern states for pine sawtimber, chip-n-saw and pulpwood. In the Northwest, the Forisk Forecast includes Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock prices for Oregon and Washington. Select expectations include:

  • Lumber Production: while the U.S. South lost lumber production market share to the Pacific Northwest in 2012 on a relative basis, capital flows continue to indicate that long-term trends for capacity and production will grow faster in the South.
  • Demand from Pulp/Paper, OSB and Bioenergy: by 2023, the pulp/paper sector will account for less than 80% of pulpwood/chips demand, while bioenergy and OSB use 11% and 10% in Forisk’s Base Case.
  • Log Exports: the Pacific Northwest remains the colossus among U.S. regions; the U.S. South managed to nudge its share from 2.5% in 2011 to 2.9% in 2012. (Hold the champagne.)
  • US South, Pine Sawtimber: South-wide prices are forecasted to increase 7% in 2013 and 34% by 2023.  Alabama, Florida and Louisiana lead Southern states across the $30 per ton benchmark in 2014 and 2015 based on state-wide pricing.
  • Pacific Northwest, Douglas-fir: in the Base Case, delivered #2 domestic sawlogs are forecasted to increase 3% in 2013 and 23% in Coastal Oregon and 20% in Washington through 2023.  Oregon average annual prices maintain a $41/MBF spread over Washington.

To learn more about the 2013 Forisk Forecast or Forisk’s market-specific stumpage forecasts tailored to individual wood-using facilities or timberland ownerships, contact Brooks Mendell at bmendell@forisk.com, 770.725.8447. 

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