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The Global Forest Industry in the 4Q/2013

March 13, 2014, Thursday, 16:45 GMT | 12:45 EST | 21:15 IST | 23:45 SGT

Global Timber Markets

- Sawlog prices trended upward throughout the world in the 4Q and the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) rose to $88.78/m3. This was the highest level in over two years and the third highest price on record since the inception of the Index in 1995.

- Many of the price increases around the world during 2013 were the result of substantially higher trade of logs and improved lumber prices in a number a key markets, particularly in North America.

- In 2013, global trade of logs was up by as much as 17% from 2012 totaling 84 million m3. This was the highest shipments of logs since 2007.

Global Pulpwood Prices

- The two global wood fiber indices, SFPI and HFPI, have trended in opposite directions during most of 2013. Stronger markets and higher prices for softwood fiber-based pulp and paper products have resulted in higher demand, and rising prices, for both softwood chips and roundwood.

- The Softwood Wood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) has gone for two straight quarters to reach US$99.51/odmt in the 4Q. The largest increases were in Sweden, France, Germany and New Zealand. Hardwood fiber price changes have been mixed with higher price in the 4Q/13 in Europe, while declining prices in Chile, Indonesia, Japan and Eastern Canada. Some of the declines have been the result of a strengthening US dollar.

- The Hardwood Wood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) fell for the fifth consecutive quarter to $97.59/odmt in the 4Q/13, the first time this index was lower than SFPI since 2Q/08.

Global Pulp Markets

- The operating rates for the world’s pulpmills creeped up to 93% in November. Global market pulp production for 2013 was about 3.6% higher than in the previous year.

- NBSK prices have steadily trended upward for almost 18 months, while HBKP prices have stayed flat. The price discrepancy between the two major pulp grades has been unusually high the past six months.

Global Lumber Markets

- Lumber production slowed down towards the end of 2013 in both the US and Canada because of weather, less activities in the housing market and reduced exportation.

- US lumber prices trended upward during most of the summer and fall and in January this year they were back to about the same level as in January 2013.

- The optimism is returning to the sawmilling sector in the Nordic countries with production in the second half of 2013 being much higher than the first six month.

- Lumber production in Germany has trended downward the past few years and imports have gone up, particularly from the Nordic countries.

- China’s importation of lumber was 19% higher in 2013 than in 2012, reaching a new record high. Canada and New Zealand together accounted for almost 80% of the total import volume.

- Wooden housing starts in Japan were up 12% in 2013.

- Softwood lumber import to Japan reached the highest level in seven years last year.

Global Biomass Markets

- After two quarters of double-digit growth, wood pellet export volumes to Europe increased just two percent in the 3Q/13.

- Higher pellet demand and increased costs for wood raw-material pushed residential pellet prices upward in the German domestic market in 2013.

- Pellet prices in the three major markets in Europe, Sweden, Germany and Austria have converged over the past four years.