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Lumber: Elevated Demand, but Native Manufacturing Stagnant

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The Economics and Markets Division of the Quebec Forest Trade Council (QFIC) has the (good) behavior of generously sharing its information compilations on softwood lumber consumption and manufacturing in Canada and the US. The latest report highlighted some factors that deserve the eye of woodworkers.

First, lumber consumption in Canada and our main neighbors has elevated by greater than 55 per cent in a decade to succeed in a report 51.5 million board ft in 2020.

We see that nearly 40 per cent extra lumber is now being consumed on the continent. And most commentators don’t foresee a decline within the subsequent 12 to 24 months as a result of financial restoration on everybody’s lips and in each authorities price range.

Within the first quarter of the present yr, the rise doesn’t seem like waning as there may be a further estimated consumption of three.7 per cent over January-February-March 2020.

If we isolate the manufacturing of Quebec sawmills for the final 10 years, we’re shocked that 2020 wasn’t a report yr, regardless that the earlier yr (2019) was higher and the yr earlier than that (2018) was additionally greater in manufacturing amount.

Whereas the pandemic didn’t lead to report lumber manufacturing in Quebec, we must always take solace in the truth that 10 years in the past, 20 per cent much less was produced than in recent times.

The state of affairs in Quebec continues to be higher than in British Columbia. From 2010 to 2018, 11.3 to 13.3 million bdft of lumber was produced there, however repeated fires and bug assaults have diminished manufacturing to 9679 bdft in 2019 and 8923 bdft final yr.

Nationwide, nothing roughly than 5 per cent of the identical quantity of lumber has been produced per yr for a decade. And the primary few months of 2021 present a rise, admittedly, however not a lot multiple would have thought as observers of this development and renovation overactivity scene that has plagued us for the reason that arrival of COVID-19.

The implication is that inventories are low within the mills as a result of every little thing is offered and delivered as quickly because it’s produced. Nonetheless, whole manufacturing isn’t actually growing due to the dearth of staffing and one other crucial variable within the equation: the almost-reached limits of public forest exploitation. The one important potential is on personal land, however that is solely doable in the long run.

In distinction, in the US, over the previous 10 years, timber manufacturing has steadily elevated by eight to 9 per cent every year, from 24.8 mbf in 2010 to 36.7 mbf in 2020.

Thus, it’s due to largely U.S. manufacturing that the elevated shopper, development, and institutional demand for lumber has been met… or tried to be met so far.

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Rachel Ha
Industrial and agricultural product enthusiast. Expert on Vietnam economy. Focus on FTA agreements between Vietnam and other countries.
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