Sawlog prices were up in most regions of the world in the 3Q/17. The price increases from the 2Q/17 were generally smaller in the local currencies than in US dollar terms because of the weakening US dollar, according to the latest Wood Resource Quarterly.
The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) has gone up for three consecutive quarters to reach $75.69/m3 in the 3Q/17, while the Euro-based European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI-€) also trended upward the past year, but at a slower pace than the GSPI.
Global Pulpwood Price
Wood fiber costs increased for wood pulp manufacturers in most regions of the world in the 3Q/17, with the biggest increases in cost being for hardwood fiber, while the Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) was up 2.9% quarter-overquarter in the 3Q/17. The HFPI has trended upwards for the past 18 months and was seven percent higher in the 3Q/17 than at its 16-year low in the 1Q/16.
Softwood fiber prices were also going up during the 3Q/17, mainly because of a weakening US dollar and the Global Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI), which had been steady for three consecutive quarters, jumped almost four percent in the 3Q/17 from the previous quarter to reach US$88.21/odmt.
Global Pulp Markets
Global production of market pulp has increased in all major pulp-producing regions in 2017. As has been the case for a number of years, Latin American pulpmills have expanded output the most, with production during the first eight months of 2017 being four percent higher than during the same period in 2016.
The strong demand for pulp has moved prices for both softwood pulp (NBSK) and hardwood pulp (BHK) upward for more than a year. Prices for BHK have increased faster than those of NBSK and in October, were close to par for the first time in over two years.
Global Lumber Markets
Demand for imported softwood lumber to the US has fallen by six percent during the first nine months of 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. This contrasts with the world’s second largest lumber importer, China, to which import volumes have been up by 21% year-over-year. The lumber trade in Europe has also picked up in 2017, with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, and Spain having increased imports the most so far in 2017, reports the WRQ. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa, also known as the MENA countries, have sharply reduced consumption of lumber this year. In the first eight months of 2017, Egypt and Algeria have decreased imports by 24% and 39% respectively.
The increase in US lumber demand during the third quarter was met by higher domestic production both in the South and the West, while lumber prices in both Finland and Sweden have strengthened in 2017, and in August, reached their highest levels since early 2015. Healthy domestic demand for lumber and strong export markets both contributed to the upward price trajectory.
Average import prices to China have continued their three-year climb to reach $190/m3 in September and the Russian sawmilling sector continues to add capacity in Siberia and the Far East, targeting the expanding demand for lumber in China. Just during the first eight months of this year, Russia increased shipments to China by 23% as compared to the same period in 2016.
Global Biomass Markets
It is likely that 2017 will be another year of record trade of wood pellets. The biggest increases in shipments to the major markets this year have been in pellets bound for Denmark, South Korea and Italy.
The global forest industry in Q3/2017 from Fordaq
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