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Daily News / Global Trends / Market Analysis / Forestry / Lumber / Sawmilling / Statistics / Wood Products / Global / North America
December 17, 2019

North American softwood lumber production on a downward trend

North American softwood lumber production on a downward trend

U.S. sawmills produced 26.616 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first nine months, edging down 0.1% from the 26.653 bbf produced in the same period a year earlier.

Western U.S. sawmills contributed 10.799 bbf to the nine-month total, down 1.7% % from last year’s 10.988 bbf, while output from Southern sawmills advanced 1.1% to 14.564 bbf from 14.410 bbf.

In September alone, U.S. sawmills produced 2.793 bbf – up 2.1% from last year’s 2.735 bbf, but down 8.9% from production in August 2019 of 3.066 bbf.

Sawmills in the West contributed 1.150 bbf to September’s total, down 0.1% year-over-year from 1.151 bbf, and 6.7% lower than the previous month’s volume of 1.233 bbf. Southern sawmills accounted for 1.512 bbf, a year-over-year increase of 3.9% from 1.455 bbf, but down 10.5% from 1.689 bbf in August of this year.

Apparent U.S. softwood lumber consumption in the first nine months was 36.742 bbf, down 0.1% from 36.783 bbf last year. In September, apparent consumption in September was 3.935 bbf, up 2.8% from 3.828 bbf a year earlier, but down 6.3% from 4.198 bbf in August 2019.

Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption

Canadian sawmills produced 18.608 bbf of softwood lumber in the first nine months, down 10.9% from last year’s 20.889 bbf.

Sawmills in British Columbia accounted for 7.625 bbf of the nine-month total, a 20.6% drop from output a year earlier of 9.601 bbf. Sawmills east of the Rockies produced 10,983 bbf, 2.7% less than the previous year’s output of 11.288 bbf.

Canadian softwood production in September was 1.954 bbf, down 12.2% year-over-year from 2.225 bbf in the previous September, but up 1.0% from output in August this year of 1.935 bbf.

Sawmills in British Columbia accounted for 738 million board ft. (mmbf) of September’s production volume, down 27.2% from 1.014 bbf last year, and down 5.9% from August’s volume of 784 mmbf. Sawmills east of the Rockies produced 1.216 bbf, up 0.4% year-over-year from 1.211 bbf, and up 5.7% from 1.151 bbf in August this year.

Apparent Canadian softwood lumber consumption in the first nine months plunged 15.2% from 7.395 bbf last year to 6.267 bbf. In September, apparent consumption was 659 mmbf, down 0.9% from 666 mmbf last year, and 4.0% below August’s figure of 687 mmbf.

U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories

U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 83% in the first nine months, down from 86% last year, while in Canada, the average dropped to 80% from 89%.

U.S. inventories declined September, by 2.4% to 3.008 bbf from 3.082 bbf. In Canada, inventories were down 8.5% to 2.942 bbf from 3.215 bbf.

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