Wood fiber costs fell in most regions of North America during the first six months of 2019, with the biggest declines in Western Canada and the US Northwest. Prices for pulplogs and wood chips in the US South bucked the trend, with softwood fiber moving up to its highest levels in three years and hardwood fiber prices hitting an all-time-high.
Wet weather conditions in the US South continued to restrain harvesting in the 2Q/19. However, pulpmill maintenance outages and falling pulp and paper product prices led to softening demand for wood fiber this quarter. The result was an easing in softwood pulplog prices from the 1Q/19. Even though hardwood pulplog pricing remained flat, the region was slowly reducing its reliance on long-distance haul supply sources, as well as finishing harvesting operations in timber stands that were purchased when rates were higher than in the 2Q/19.