North America log exports to Japan decreased by 17.1% in 2015, reaching 2,565,063 cbm, the lowest level since 2010. The Canadian log export dropped by 30%, to 802,687 cbm, while the US log exports declined 8.7%, reaching 1,762,000 cbm. Thus, the log share of the US to Japan (of the N. American exports) increased to 68.7%, compared to the 62.5% in 2014.
The Canadian log exports declined because the Japanese plywood mills cut a lot of their production in the second half of 2015. Thus, the demand of Canadian Douglas fir logs, which is used for long length plywood, sharply decreased. In 2015, the volume of Canadian Douglas fir log was 36.5% less, reaching 623,000 cbm.
The total Canadian log exports to Japan reached 802,000 cbm, being the lowest since 2009, when the housing starts dropped down to 780,000 units after the Lehman shock. The Douglas fir logs imported from the US were 8% less, to 1,693,000 cbm.
The US’s share of Douglas fir logs increased to 66%, but the difference between the strong dollar and the weak yen pushed the imports costs so high, that Japan’s imports of all the other wood species in the US dropped.
Thus, the hemlock import dropped by 10% and the Canadian volume reached only 125,000 cbms, 6.3% less than the previous year, while the US imports dropped 56.2%, to 4,136 cbm. The yellow cedar logs decreased by 45.3%, with 9,635 cbm from Canada, 34.7% less and 4,085 cbm from the U.S.A,, 60.5% less.
Yet, western red cedar increased by 72%.from the US, reaching 2,559 cbm, while Canada exported only 7,043 cbm to Japan, 325% more.