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October 13, 2020

Outlook of the Canadian softwood lumber market in 2020/2021

Outlook of the Canadian softwood lumber market in 2020/2021

The main driver for Canadian softwood lumber production is not domestic consumption, but rather exports— and exports to the US and China in particular. The COVID-19 recession is expected to cause exports to decline 3% in 2020. We do expect a sharp rebound in US demand, but the outlook for China is not as strong.

Exports to the US should remain strong as the country’s residential-construction markets have not been affected by the COVID-19 recession like other sectors of the economy. Moreover, we expect low interest rates, tremendous pent-up demand from a decade of underbuilding, and strong demographic tailwinds will all bolster US residential-construction markets in 2021.

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