British Columbia’s lumber exports to China are starting to fall rapidly, a startling reversal from the boom B.C. forest products companies enjoyed through most of 2011.
The B.C. lumber industry is predicting additional growth in 2012, making the current situation is difficult. Inventories of wood are piled up in China amid a weakening construction market there, greatly slowing demand for B.C. lumber.
Last December, traditionally the biggest sales month of the year, B.C. sold just $67 million in lumber to mainland China, according to Statistics Canada figures compiled by BC Stats. Sales were down 36% from a year earlier, and December was the second-slowest month of 2011.
Sales have fallen month by month since September of last year, a disappointing end to what was a record year in 2011. B.C. sold $1.07 billion of lumber to China, up 60% from $668 million in 2010 and more than triple sales two years ago.