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Forisk Forecast: U.S. Log Export Update

This is the third in a series related to Forisk’s Q4 2015 forest industry analysis and timber price forecasts for the North America.

In British Columbia, the law refers to logs as “unmanufactured timber.” The phrase speaks to untapped value and benefits, as might be the case of calling cows “uncooked steaks” or grapes “unfermented wine.” When assessing the export of logs from the United States, we see how values and demand for this unmanufactured product change over time by who now stands at the front of the line.

Since 2010, markets in China and Japan account for over 80% of U.S. softwood log exports. In 2015, through August, these two countries represented 89%, continuing the situation of U.S. softwood log export markets remaining concentrated on a few countries. While logs go to dozens of countries, three – China, Japan and South Korea – accounted for over 94% through August 2015. China alone represents 57% of this volume, down from 58% as of June.

20151104 log exports

However, log exports from the United States are down. After increasing 30% in 2013, U.S. softwood log exports declined 1.5% to 8.9 million tons in 2014. Annualizing the 2015 volumes through August produces a 2015 estimate of 6.4 million tons, or 28% below 2014.


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