New WOOD MARKETS five-year forecast calls for continued volatility as North American and global lumber markets continue to recover and grow.
In WOOD MARKETS’ new five-year forecast, the short-term outlook is that North American and global economies, as well as softwood lumber and panel markets, are all forecast to improve, but at a much slower pace than has been expected. What has also short-circuited the prospects of stronger demand is a slowdown in China and Japan, impacting export markets. And the new wildcard that caused U.S. dollar prices to plunge in 2015, especially in softwood lumber, was the rapid currency devaluations of almost all major lumber producers as compared to the U.S. dollar. All of these factors have changed the WOOD MARKETS outlook to one that expects more lacklustre demand and corresponding price growth through 2018. After that, it starts to look very good.
These details and further analysis of commodity lumber and panels was released last week in the report, WOOD MARKETS 2016 – The Solid Wood Products Outlook: 2016 to 2020 by International WOOD MARKETS Group, Vancouver BC.
The supply-side dynamics feature eroding sustainable timber harvests in key provinces in Canada, resulting in dramatically lower lumber production than in the previous decade. Canada’s total lumber output will start to flatten out by 2018 with no further increases expected – just as U.S. and global demand are expected to gain momentum.
On the U.S. side, the U.S. West Coast region continues to watch log export prices in China and Japan, as many domestic log prices are correlated with export prices – this can quickly tighten the wood supply for sawmills and plywood mills as export prices rise. The U.S. South is forecast to be the only region where any significant lumber and panel production will occur, mainly due its ample, under-utilized timberland base of southern yellow pine. As lumber and panel demand increases, it is forecast that the current depressed log prices will start to move higher to feed incremental wood consumption of the expected additional panel and sawmill production.