Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 736 million board feet in the first 6 months of 2012, a decrease of 25% compared to the same time last year, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. During this same period, lumber exports from the West coast totaled 392 million board feet, a decrease of about 17%.
“China’s economic slowdown has reduced that country’s demand for log and lumber imports,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. “This is largely responsible for the overall decrease in West coast exports.”
The total value of log exports in the first half of this year totaled $461 million, a decrease of 32%. The total value of exported lumber dropped about 14% to $287 million.
“Increasing pressure of Chinese Yuan (Renminbi) appreciation and a strict real estate control policy have slowed down China’s overall importation of forest products so far this year,” Zhou said. “As a result, we may not see much of an increase in West coast log and lumber exports to China for the next two to three quarters.”
Zhou compiled the statistics using data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, a station publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production as well as employment in forest industries.