West coast log and lumber exports decrease 33% YOY

PORTLAND, Ore. May 23, 2013. Log and lumber exports from the West coast plummeted in the first quarter of 2013 according to a Forest Service research economist. Log exports dropped 33 percent: from 362 million board feet in the first quarter of 2012, to 242 million board feet in the first quarter of 2013. However, the total value of log exports increased more than 27 percent, from $232 million to $297 million.

Meanwhile, lumber exports dropped by 91 million board feet in the first 3 months of 2013 compared to the same time last year.

“The West coast lumber merchants exported only 143 million board feet of lumber in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 234 million board feet in the first quarter of 2012,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the agency’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. “The value of first quarter 2013 exports fetched $153 million compared to $156 million in 2012. This means wood products coming from West coast markets are getting more expensive and increasing in value per unit.”

Zhou compiled the statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission and from 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.

Other highlights:

• Total U.S. log exports increased by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The dollar value also increased by 12 percent over the first quarter of 2012.

• Total U.S. lumber exports increased by 2 percent (from 731 to 747 million board feet). The value increased by 8 percent in first quarter of 2013 compared to the same time in 2012.

• West coast log exports from Alaska, Oregon, northern California, and Washington, totaled about 242 million board feet in the first quarter of 2013. Oregon and Washington supplied 94 percent of these logs.

• During this same time period, about 88 percent, or 136 million board feet of the West coast lumber export, was from Oregon and Washington.

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