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Global timber trade rose 10% in 2016. US, China and UK top 3 importing countries

Global timber trade rose 10% in 2016. US, China and UK top 3 importing countries | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

According to Wood Resources International (WRI), 118 million m3 of timber was traded last year resulting in +10 percent compared to 2015.

Imports to the US account for about one-third of globally traded timber and have almost doubled in five years. China accounted for about 17% of import volumes in 2016, followed by the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
 
The biggest declines in imports globally from 2015 to 2016 were to the MENA region, where demand for timber fell in all the major markets, including Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Moreover, early 2017 showed an upward trend for global softwood timber market with prices in North America hitting a 13-year high, while Chinese import prices increasing 13% in 18 months.

WRI report also presents an insight on macro-areas:

North America
Timber production in North America in 2016 was up six percent from the previous year, reaching its highest level since 2007. The biggest rises in production occurred in the US South and Eastern Canada, while the increases in western Canada and the western US were more modest.

Prices for timber in the US have jumped during the first four months of the year to hit a 13-year high in April. Many of the commonly traded grades surged in price by more than 20% from April of 2016.


Northern Europe
Sweden exported 12.9 million m3 of softwood timber in 2016, which was the highest volume exported since 2006. The increase from 2015 was a modest 1.5%, with shipments to Denmark, Japan, China and France rising the most.

Domestic timber prices in both Finland and Sweden continue to be close to their lowest levels in ten years in US dollar terms, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly.


China
Prices for imported softwood timber to China have been in a steady upward trend during 2016 and 2017 with the average import price in March 2017 being 13% higher than 18 months earlier.

The biggest change in pricing over the past two year has been that prices for Russian timber are no longer substantially cheaper than those for timber from other supplying regions, but instead are rather close to the average import price.


Japan
Total housing starts were up 3.2% in Japan in the 1Q/17 as compared to the same quarter in 2016, and the economic outlook for the coming year is slightly more optimistic than that for last year.

Prices for domestic and imported timber have remained practically unchanged for almost a year in Yen terms. With the Yen strengthening against the US dollar during the first four months of 2017, timber prices have increased so far this year in US dollar terms.


Russia
After a substantial decline in softwood timber export prices during 2014 and 2015, Russian timber prices have trended upward for most of 2016 and early 2017. Average export prices in March 2017 were 12% higher than in the same month last year, and prices for wood going to China have gone up even faster over the same time-period.

Export volumes to China in the 1Q/17 were unchanged from the previous quarter, holding steady at the second highest level on record.

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Global softwood lumber trade up 15%

Global softwood lumber trade up 15% | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Global softwood lumber trade reached an all-time high in 2015 when, according to estimates by the WRI, 118 million m3 was traded internationally. This year has started out with even higher volumes being traded around the world; the 1Q/16 shipments were approximately 20% higher than in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

All countries on the “top-10 import list” increased their lumber importation during the first few months this year with the biggest changes in import volumes being in the US, China and Egypt. Some of the regions covered in the latest report from WRI include;

North America

There was mostly upbeat news about the US lumber market in the first few months of 2016; housing starts in March were the highest for that month since 2007, lumber consumption in early 2016 was 14% higher than the same period in 2015, lumber imports in January-April were up 42% as compared to early 2015, and lumber prices in May reached their highest levels in over a year. Despite increased domestic wood demand, lumber production on the US West coast actually fell about four percent during the first four months this year.

Canadian production was sharply higher during the first three months of 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015, with an increase of 19% in the Eastern provinces and eight percent in British Columbia.

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How Europe’s climate policies led to more U.S. trees being cut down

How Europe’s climate policies led to more U.S. trees being cut down | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
For the sake of a greener Europe, thousands of American trees are falling each month in the forests outside this cotton-country town.

Every morning, logging crews go to work in densely wooded bottomlands along the Roanoke River, clearing out every tree and shrub down to the bare dirt. Each day, dozens of trucks haul freshly cut oaks and poplars to a nearby factory where the wood is converted into small pellets, to be used as fuel in European power plants.

Soaring demand for this woody fuel has led to the construction of more than two dozen pellet factories in the Southeast in the past decade, along with special port facilities in Virginia and Georgia where mountains of pellets are loaded onto Europe-bound freighters. European officials promote the trade as part of the fight against climate change. Burning “biomass” from trees instead of coal, they say, means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But that claim is increasingly coming under challenge. A number of independent experts and scientific studies — including a new analysis released Tuesday — are casting doubt on a key argument used to justify the cutting of Southern forests to make fuel. In reality, these scientists say, Europe’s appetite for wood pellets could lead to more carbon pollution for decades to come, while also putting some of the East Coast’s most productive wildlife habitats at risk.

“From the point of view of what’s coming out of the smokestack, wood is worse than coal,” said William H. Schlesinger, the former dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and one of nearly 100 scientists to sign a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency last year asking for stricter guidelines on using biomass to generate electric power. “You release a lot of carbon in a short period of time, and it takes decades to pull that carbon back out of the atmosphere.”
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Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons

Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

North American shipments of wood pellets over the Atlantic continued to go up in the 2Q/13 with volumes more than double those in the 2Q/11, according to data compiled by the North American Wood Fiber Review. Shipments to the major consumer in Europe, the United Kingdom, are likely to decline in the coming year because of the closure of a major biomass plant in the UK.


Pellet export volumes from North America to Europe continued to rise during the 2Q/13, representing steady growth for the past seven quarters, according to data compiled by WRI and reported in the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR). In that period of time, volumes exported to Europe have more than doubled, from just over 500,000 tons in the 3Q/11 to over 1.1 million tons in the 2Q/13 (Note. The most current trade data is available to subscribers of the NAWFR).

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 15, 2014 1:21 PM

North America has doubled its wood pellet exports to Europe over the last two years due to the closure of a major biomass plant in the UK. This article shows how globalization can greatly effect areas in two totally different parts of the globe. Because the UK i the major consumer of wood pellets in the World, North American companies were able to fill their need after the UK plant closed. Businesses are incredibly impacted my change across the globe. If a plant in the UK closes, the production of a plant in the North America increases. The demand doesn't change and because globalization makes transportation cost low, the price does not change drastically when production occurs thousands of miles away.

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Global Wood Chip Price Indices Launched by FOEX and WRI

Global Wood Chip Price Indices Launched by FOEX and WRI | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

FOEX in cooperation with Wood Resources International (WRI) has launched two wood chip price indices, the Softwood Chip Global (SCG) and Hardwood Chip Global (HCG), both part of the PIX index family of FOEX.


On February 18th, 2014, FOEX in cooperation with Wood Resources International (WRI) launched two wood chip price indices, the Softwood Chip Global (SCG) and Hardwood Chip Global (HCG), both part of the PIX index family of FOEX. The Indices represent prices for wood chips traded globally overseas for the manufacturing of wood pulp and wood-based panels. The latest reported Indices were US$168.63/odmt (+5.18% from the prev. month) for SCG and US$183.13/odmt (-2.15% from the prev. month) for HCG. The Indices will be reported monthly the third Tuesday of the month on the FOEX web site.

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Stars align for NZ foresters as 'wall of wood' comes on stream, prices reach record highs

Stars align for NZ foresters as 'wall of wood' comes on stream, prices reach record highs | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

New Zealand forest growers, long overshadowed by booming returns from the dairy industry, look set to cash in on record prices for logs as they prepare to harvest trees planted in a flurry of activity two decades ago.


Forestry plantation activity in New Zealand jumped between 1992 and 1998, as a surge in Asian log prices lured investment syndicates to the sector. Radiata pine, which makes up about 90 percent of the nation's plantations, are typically felled between 26 and 32 years, meaning the "wall of wood" will start being harvested from about 2018, according to government figures.
***
China is underpinning New Zealand commodity price strength as Asia's largest economy undergoes urbanisation, growing incomes and demand for better housing, says ASB rural economist Nathan Penny.


Forestry exports to China rose more than 50 percent in 2013, putting New Zealand ahead of Russia as the biggest seller of logs into that market. Russia's log exports have dipped as a result of an export tax aimed at stimulating its domestic timber processing industry. At the same time, shipments from the US and Canada have dwindled as demand picked up in their home markets.
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While an increase in supply in coming years may put some pressure on prices, foresters have the ability to stagger harvests and continued Chinese demand is likely to underpin the sector, Penny said.
***
Increased demand in New Zealand from the rebuilding of earthquake damaged Christchurch and a surging Auckland housing market are also adding to wood demand and supporting prices, Penny said. New Zealand exports of logs and wood surged 22 percent last year to $3.86 billion. In comparison, meat exports rose just 2.2 percent to $5.28 billion and dairy exports increased 17 percent to $13.4 billion. The Wood Council of New Zealand, which represents forestry and wood processors, aims to triple export earnings to $12 billion by 2022.

***
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund partnered with Harvard Management Company, the endowment fund of Harvard University, and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, Canada's largest pension investment managers, for the harvesting rights to the 178,000 hectare Kaingaroa Forest, New Zealand's largest plantation forest and one of the largest contiguous plantation forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

The NZ Super Fund valued its 41.25 percent stake in Kaingaroa at $1 billion as at June 30, saying it has delivered an 18.05 percent return since it was purchased in 2006.


Other large plantations are owned by US-based Hancock Natural Resource Group, the world's largest timberland investment manager which bought 260,000 hectares of forests from Carter Holt Harvey, and Matariki Forests, a consortium managed by US-based Rayonier which owns 130,000 hectares of forests, according to Forest Owners Association records.


Demand for logs from China is hurting the local sawmilling industry as forest owners send their logs overseas rather than sell them to local processors, according to the New Zealand Timber Industry Federation.


Some 40 sawmills have closed since 2003, according to the New Zealand Forest Owners Association. In October, the Tachikawa Forest Products sawmill in Rotorua was put in receivership with the loss of 120 jobs.

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Chinese thirst for wood driving demand for Northwest logs

Chinese thirst for wood driving demand for Northwest logs | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

If you want to know how China’s construction market is reshaping the Northwest, a Rainier, Ore., log yard is a good place to start.


The Teevin Brothers yard along the Columbia River rumbles with activity while workers prepare half a million logs for the towering ships docked across the river in the Port of Longview. A yellow stacking truck opens its pinchers and sends its payload rolling out across the ground. The air smells like sap and sawdust. Scalers wearing neon safety vests inspect the logs, stapling each with a plastic barcode.
***
Teevin Brothers specializes in log handling and logistics for clients that include Weyerhaueser, Hancock Timber Resource Group and Georgia Pacific. Teevin Brothers alone filled about 18 vessels headed to China last year, Oien says. China’s growing demand for logs may have helped blunt the impact of the recent recession on timber landowners and logging crews, while making it even harder for local sawmills to compete.


Hakan Ekstrom, an industry analyst, says China appears to have a long-term interest in logs from the Northwest. Smaller ports like Grays Harbor and Olympia in Washington and Newport in Oregon are looking for a way into the business.


“Many of the ports that historically had been exporting logs to Japan, if you go back 10 to 20 years in time, have started to explore opportunities to see if they can update equipment, find land and maybe get involved in log exports again,” he says.
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Newport is a vibrant center of commercial fishing, marine tourism and research on the central Oregon Coast. Efforts here to revive the port’s long-shuttered log export terminal have run into opposition from neighbors and environmentalists.
***
Teevin Brothers is negotiating a lease with the port and a nearby landowner to build a log yard and use the renovated terminal to fill freighters with logs bound for Asia.


Hancock Timber Resource Group, an investment firm that owns about 1.8 million acres of forest in the Northwest, would provide the logs. The firm owns 225,000 acres of forestland in Oregon’s Coast Range mountains within driving distance of Newport. Hancock exports about 25 percent of the logs it cuts.
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The project would route 50 loaded log trucks a day down the quiet neighborhood’s main street. An Alaskan timber company, Alcan, is negotiating a second log export deal that could double that truck traffic on some days. Many residents are irate. A few have listed their homes for sale.
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As a result, only private or corporate landowners can export logs without processing them first. Congress banned log export from federal lands in 1968 and from state lands in 1990, and blocked timber companies that export logs from purchasing federal timber to supply their mills.


Today, some environmental groups argue that the export of logs from private lands has increased the pressure on federal forests to resume logging and provide a steady supply for local mills.


Lincoln County used to be home to dozens of sawmills and several veneer mills. Now just one stud mill remains. On a recent evening in Newport, opponents of the log export terminal gathered to hear environmentalists and opponents of free trade discuss the export market.
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“It would be better to export processed wood products — lumber, plywood or pulp — than logs, thereby creating more domestic jobs and improving state and local economies,” wrote Gary Lettman, the chief economist for the Oregon Department of Forestry, in a report to the Oregon Legislature.
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But Lettmen also concluded that the log export market provides a crucial option for forest landowners when the demand for lumber in the U.S. drops. That means timberland remains profitable and isn’t sold to developers, and jobs are retained in the logging and forest management sectors.


It’s an argument that’s echoed by the managers at Hancock Timber Resource Group, the investment firm behind the Newport proposal.

“When we first started to do the export program in 2010, there wasn’t a lot of demand for domestic logs. Housing starts had crashed, and our ability to export helped us keep our logging crews together,” says Bill Marre, the Northwest general manager for Hancock.


And analyst Ekstrom says that while log exports may harm Northwest mills in the short term, he expects China to be increasingly interested in importing processed lumber from the Northwest in the future.


The challenge at present, he says, is that China doesn’t have a tradition of building houses framed with 2x4 studs, and builders there don’t use standard dimensions or grades of lumber. That makes it very difficult for Northwest mills to market their products in China. But Ekstrom says the demand for western-style houses is increasing.

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Italy’s timber federation Fedecomlegno predicts a softwood shortfall

Italy’s timber federation Fedecomlegno predicts a softwood shortfall | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Italy’s timber federation Fedecomlegno predicts shorter softwood supply and higher prices from the autumn, as European Timber Trade Federation said in the press release received by Lesprom Network.


According to Giampiero Paganoni, president of Fedecomlegno, the key factor behind tightening softwood imports is the raw material crisis facing Italy’s key supplier, the Austrian timber sector. “The main Austrian mils are struggling to find sufficient logs leading to capacity cutbacks and these are having a cascade effect across the wider Austrian timber industry,” he said. “The decrease in production of material for glulam beams, for example, has meant less ‘falling’ material for other users, notably pallet makers.”


In addition, said Mr Paganoni, Austrian producers are tending to redirect short availablility supply to North Africa. “Add all this together, and it’s evident in the near future in Italy there will be less timber and it will be increasingly expensive.”

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Growing the future: Global strategies for sustainable success in the forest, paper and packaging industry

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

Thanks to FORSight Resources (https://twitter.com/FORSightResourc) for this link

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How Reporters Miss the Forest and the Trees When Covering Wood Bioenergy Markets

How Reporters Miss the Forest and the Trees When Covering Wood Bioenergy Markets | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

While the general public’s understanding of wood bioenergy remains incomplete, recent reporting on the issue fails to meaningfully inform readers on the status of woody biomass supplies and the actual development of wood bioenergy markets in the U.S.  In fact, several articles suffered from three common errors we observe in major media coverage:

  1. Failure to provide context.
  2. Improperly assigning “causal” relationships.
  3. Errors of fact.

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Wood bioenergy in the U.S. faces limits to growth.  No one will be vacuuming U.S. forests to feed UK power plants.  The economics, logistics and sustainability of such strategies fail on multiple levels.  This is why markets in other regions such as South America, Russia and Canada continue to scale up capacity.  The facts, context and market relationships highlight a stuttered, evolving wood bioenergy market in the U.S. that continues to feel its way forward as part of the large, established wood-using forest industry.

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Rubber barons: the destruction of forests continues

Rubber barons: the destruction of forests continues | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

ALONG Route 7 in Cambodia’s remote north, dozens of small tractors known as “iron buffaloes” are plying a dilapidated piece of highway. Under cover of darkness, they transport freshly cut timber into nearby sawmills. The drivers wear masks, their tractors fitted with just one dim lamp at the front. Each carries between three and six logs which locals say were felled illegally on or near the Dong Nai rubber plantation, owned by Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG).


Illegal logging and land-grabbing have long been problems in Cambodia. A new report entitled “Rubber Barons” by Global Witness, a London-based environmental watchdog, has highlighted the issue once again. Dong Nai features prominently in the report, which claims that luxury timbers like rosewood, much in demand for furniture in China and guitars in the West, were culled as a 3,000-hectare (7,400-acre) section of forest was illegally cleared.


Global Witness says that local and foreign companies have amassed more than 3.7m hectares of land in Cambodia and Laos since 2000, as governments have handed out huge land concessions, many in opaque circumstances. Two-fifths of this was for rubber plantations, dominated by state companies from Vietnam, the world’s third-largest rubber producer.


The report claims that VRG and another Vietnamese company, HAGL, are among the biggest land-grabbers, and have been logging illegally in both Cambodia and Laos. It says that, through Vietnam-based funds, the two companies have received money from Deutsche Bank, while HAGL also has investment from the IFC, the private-sector arm of the World Bank. The two Vietnamese companies have denied any wrongdoing. Deutsche Bank and the IFC say they are studying the findings.

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Lumber markets improved sharply in the US during 2012 and early 2013; production was up eight percent and prices have increased over 60 percent since late 2011, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

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The Global Timber Price Index GSPI Was up 4.2% in the 2Q/16 after Having Fallen to the Lowest Level since 2009 in Early 2016

The Global Timber Price Index GSPI Was up 4.2% in the 2Q/16 after Having Fallen to the Lowest Level since 2009 in Early 2016 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) was up 4.2% in the 2Q/16 to US$71.18/m3, the highest quarter-over-quarter increase since the 2Q/11. Sawlog prices increased in 16 of the 19 regions tracked by the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) and were generally higher in both the local currencies and in US dollar terms. The biggest price increases in dollar terms occurred in Russia, Brazil, Germany and British Columbia. The only regions that experienced lower log prices in the 2Q/16 were Chile, where lumber export markets weakened, and the US Northwest, where log export to Asia slowed down the first few months of the year and the domestic sawmills run at fairly low operating rates.

During the first half of 2016, global trade of softwood logs was up about one percent as compared to the same period in 2015, according to estimates by the WRI. Almost 50% of globally traded logs are imported to countries in Asia (specifically China, South Korea and Japan) followed by Europe and North America.

Asia’s share was down from 52% in 2015 because of reduced importation to China. The biggest change over the past ten years has been that the Nordic import share of the global log trade has fallen from almost 18% in 2005 to only nine percent in 2015, because the three Northern European countries have increased their domestic timber harvests to decrease the reliance on imported wood raw-material.
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Global timber market prices continue to decline

Global timber market prices continue to decline | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Prices for global timber have declined dramatically over the past two years with the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) falling 21.6%, according to Wood Resources International. Challenges in the global market, from Asia to Europe, putting a damper on demand include a variety of fundamental economic issues as well as the strengthening U.S. dollar.

For the fourth quarter the GSPI fell 4.8%. Prices have fallen the fastest in Europe with the European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) dropping to its lowest level, US$91.00/m3, since the first quarter of 2009, says Wood Resources.

The U.S. lumber market continues to grow, however, with consumption up nearly 5% and import volumes were also 10% higher. The strong domestic market along with weaker demand from Asia could also mean lower prices for U.S. consumers as availability increases.
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China to Boost Timber Investment in Russia Amid Western Threats to Isolate Moscow

China to Boost Timber Investment in Russia Amid Western Threats to Isolate Moscow | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Chinese investors plan to launch the first phase of a major Siberian timber complex later this year, part of a push by Beijing to cement business ties with Moscow amid strained relations between Russia and the EU, a senior manager of the venture said Thursday.


A timber processing park in the Tomsk region of Western Siberia will be part of the first phase of the project, including three mills and a dedicated power plant for industrial needs, said Boris Kaznacheyev, Deputy Director General of Roskitinvest.


Investment in the project has already reached 9 billion rubles ($250 million), Kaznacheyev said. The overall investment in timber logging, processing and related infrastructure is expected to reach 30 billion rubles ($830 million) by 2022.

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 24, 2014 1:18 PM

This is interesting and also somewhat scary.  China has swooped in on Russia when the EU has turned their backs to Russia after the reunification of Crimea.  China is ready to set up shop in Western Siberia to create a thriving timber business.  Also they plan to create a renewable energy project in Crimea.  With China making these developments in Russia, Putin has also noted that some of Russia's gas lines would run into China as part of the deal.  The scary part of this deal is if it leads to more than just China and Russia working together on timber companies, gas lines and renewable energy.

Cyrena & Chloe's curator insight, October 27, 2014 3:53 PM

Economic: The article represents economic because China is trying to make a timber investment. The article discusses about the attempt of investment in Russia. China's first part of the plan is to create a few mills and a power plant for industrial needs in Russia. China has admitted 250 million USD in an expectation to procure at least 830 million USD by 2022.

Rachael's curator insight, October 29, 2014 2:33 PM

EQ: Why might the Chinese want to build a treaty with Russia to trade timber? What purpose does the timber have to the Chinese?

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Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update

Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

China’s importation of softwood lumber was 19 percent higher in 2013 than in 2012, reaching a new record high. The unprecedented increase in lumber shipments to the Chinese market that began in 2008 is continuing.
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Canada and Russia are the two major suppliers of lumber to China, with Canada having overtaken Russia as the largest supplier in 2010. Together, these two countries supplied almost 80 percent of all imports. However, this year Europe, Russia, Chile and New Zealand have all increased their shipments to China at a higher pace than has Canada.
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This trend, where countries that just a few years ago were virtually non-existent in the Chinese market are now expanding is likely to continue in the coming years both because China’s continued hunger for more wood and because Canada is not likely to increase exports much more than the levels seen over the past few years.
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With record shipments of logs and lumber from North America to China during 2013, it will be very interesting to see if Chinese wood buyers can continue to increase their imports from the US and Canada in 2014 and 2015 when demand for lumber is likely to go up in the US market.

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International trade in logs and timber worth $50 billion in 2013

International trade in logs and timber worth $50 billion in 2013 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The total value of global trade in logs and softwood timber is estimated to have reached more than $50 billion (£30.3 billion) in 2013 – the highest level since before the economic crash of 2008 – with prices for both commodities rising.


According to Wood Resources International (WRI), which calculated the total from data for January to October, the US “continues to be the major destination for internationally-traded lumber” but countries in Asia imported twice as much timber in 2013 compared to five years ago.

WRI said: “There has been an unprecedented increase in demand for softwood lumber in Asia the past few years, with the three major importing countries, Japan, China and South Korea, together importing more than twice as much lumber in 2013 as compared to five years ago.”


Softwood timber is “by far the most commonly traded wood product worldwide” and the biggest increases in overseas trade have been from Canada to China and from Nordic countries to Japan.

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Sean Goins's curator insight, November 13, 2014 1:42 PM

softwood is the most commonly traded wood product worldwide and the us is the number one provider with prices reaching 50 million for it. of late Asia has had an increase in need for softwood so the us will have to respond by increasing production and collection of the this softwood to stay up with demand

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New study: Forests most likely to continue shrinking

New study: Forests most likely to continue shrinking | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Forest cover around the world will continue a slow shrinking before stabilizing at a lower level, according to a new study from the University of Guelph.


Researchers analyzed forest trends from around the world and developed a mathematical model to show future land use changes. They found the most likely model shows forests will decline from 30 per cent of Earth's land mass today to 22 per cent within the next two centuries.

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They analyzed several centuries' worth of forestry data from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and other sources in the literature. Perhaps surprisingly, forest cover has held steady and even grown slightly in industrialized nations. In developing countries, forests are declining as populations grow and farming claims more land. Worldwide since 1990, forests have declined by more than 70 million hectares, a land mass greater than France.

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They used the world food equation, which relates agricultural land area to population, per capita consumption and farm yield. The model quantifies how much farming improvements, such as increased yield, reduce the amount of land needed to feed a growing population.


But if world population reaches 10 billion (based on mathematical trends), human uses will take up about two-thirds of the world's land area. With 15 per cent of Earth's land mass already classified as arid, only 22 per cent would be left for forest and wild pasture conservation.


"We tried to keep this model simple so there aren't too many unknown parameters. We realize that no one can determine the future, and there could be drastic changes in agricultural yield, food technologies or diet which could impact on our findings, but we attempted to explore those kinds of changes in our scenarios," said [co-author Madhur] Anand.


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Turmoil in the Middle East creates a lumber buying buffet for China

Turmoil in the Middle East creates a lumber buying buffet for China | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Traditionally one of the main shipping destinations for Russian and European low grade lumber, Egypt’s Arab Spring, and the subsequent turmoil and chaos that have affected the country, has reduced lumber imports into the port of Alexandria to less than a third of what they were only a few years ago. Syria was also a major destination for low grade lumber until the current civil war overtook the country. Can you imagine going into a bank in Damascus or Alexandria and asking for a loan to buy lumber? It just isn’t happening. A tremendous amount of commerce is being put on hold in that entire region because of uncertainty and fear.


Russia alone was shipping close to 4 million cubic meters of lumber annually into Egypt. This year that volume may be a little less than 1.5 million cubic meters if the current trends hold true.

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Other countries with main shipping ports such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Slovenia are trying to fill the vacuum of Egypt’s declining lumber trade in the region. However, building a strong business relationship over new sales routes take time. You can visit the ports of Dubai, Karachi and Koper today where you can see lumber for use in reels, concrete forming, pallet, crating materials, and general construction from pretty much every major sawmill in Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.


The total volume of lumber being sold into the region as a whole however is down dramatically.


What you are seeing now are sawmills or groups of sawmills which used to ship entire breakbulk vessels to Egypt now shipping dramatically less into the region overall and looking to China as an alternative market. Russian sawmills are now making headway into China as well. American and Canadian lumber suppliers are visiting customers in China and finding that they are suddenly competing against Russian and European lumber products.


The only issue that is holding Chinese buyers from increasing their purchases out of Europe is the fact that transit times compared to North American suppliers are 2 to 3 times longer and there are few common sizes produced in Europe. 

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One last note to ponder, if and/or when the lumber “super cycle” hits, China may have no other option to satiate their demand for wood fiber than to look to Europe and Russia for additional lumber supply. In my humble opinion, from what I have observed and researched, when we reach 1.2 million housing starts the US will need 100% of the volume of lumber that is heading to China out of North America. The Chinese buyers will have no other option but to look elsewhere for lumber supplies as well as many switching to importing logs and sawing them themselves, changing from lumber import distributors to sawmill distributors. Will North American sawmills continue to try to stay in the export markets to stay diversified for when the next market correction occurs? Or as domestic demand increases will they look at export markets as only spot based sales markets?

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Exportation of wood pellets from North America to Europe reached a new record

Exportation of wood pellets from North America to Europe reached a new record | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The wood pellet export industry in North America has grown exponentially in a relatively short period of time. The export value has increased from an estimated 40 million dollars in 2004 to almost 400 million dollars in 2012. This fairly new trade development is the result of Europe’s quest to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions. Energy generation from renewable resources has, with varying pace, gone up in all countries in the EU the past decade.


Woody biomass, including wood pellets, is one energy source that has attracted both much attention and investments in a number of countries on the European continent. With limited domestic wood raw-material sources, countries such as the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands have increasingly relied on the importation of industrial wood pellets to reduce the usage of coal at some of their power utilities. The relatively high costs for wood pellets in Europe have resulted in increased interest in importing pellets from British Columbia and the southern states of the US where wood raw-material costs are lower than in Europe.


A record volume of 3.2 million tons of pellets was exported from North America to Europe in 2012, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review (www.woodprices.com), which compiles and publishes pellet trade volumes based on surveys of pellet exporters and customs data in North America and Europe, each quarter. From the US South, shipments were up over hundred percent compared to 2011, while Canadian exports increased 25 percent year-over-year.

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FIRPTA proposals 'important step' for US real estate

FIRPTA proposals 'important step' for US real estate | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) has welcomed proposals to changes tax laws affecting foreign property investors.


The White House has proposed changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA), as part of a broader infrastructure package unveiled by President Barack Obama. The proposals, known as the Rebuild America Partnership, are designed to spearhead significant new investment in US infrastructure.

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FIRPTA has long been seen as an obstacle to foreign investment in US real estate. Under the legislation, foreign firms that dispose of US real property are obligated to pay US tax on any gains realised. This is not the case for other types of US investments.


As a White House proposal pointed out, "Foreign investors, including large foreign pension funds, regularly cite FIRPTA as an impediment to their investment in US infrastructure and real estate assets".

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