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US sawlog prices started falling


After a three-year upward trend, this due to lower US lumber prices and weaker log export markets in Asia


After a healthy 2013 and early 2014, lumber markets in the US started weakening in the spring with lumber prices falling over ten percent so far this year. The reduced lumberprices together with lower demand for US logs in Asia in the second quarter have putdownward pressure on US sawlog prices so far this year, according to the WoodResource Quarterly.


The sawmilling sector in the US has been in a steady comeback mode ever since the global financial crisis struck in 2008. From 2009 to 2013, production has gone up every year, and the total production increased 28 % over this four-year period, at about the same pace in the South and the West. During the first quarter of 2014, production fell in the South by 1.1% as compared to the same period in 2013, while production was up 2.1% in the West (most in the Inland region), according to the latest data from WWPA.


Both lumber export from and imports to the US have gone up in the 1Q/14 year-over year.Export volumes were up 18 % with the biggest increases in shipments to China (+73%) and Mexico (+6%). Importation of lumber increased five percent in the first quarter with Canada (+6%) and Germany (+104%) accounting for the biggest volume gains compared to the 1Q/13, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).


The recent price trend for lumber in North America has been downward after sharp increases last summer and fall. Prices in May this year were down between 8-1