Tag Archives: United States

2010 Oregon timber harvest rebounds from record low

June 24, 2011

2010 Oregon timber harvest rebounds from record low 
By Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Although Oregon’s forest products industries are still struggling, a glimmer of hope appeared with increased timber harvesting in 2010. Overcoming a weak housing market and tightened lending standards, the 2010 harvest hit 3.2 billion board feet, a rise of 17 percent from 2009’s historic low of 2.7 billion board feet. A spike in lumber prices and increased log and lumber exports to China in 2010 drove up log prices by 21 percent, which fueled the uptick in harvests.

From 2009 to 2010, harvest numbers increased for every forest land ownership class except for the Bureau of Land Management. Forest industry, which accounted for 68 percent of Oregon’s total 2010 harvest, also recorded the largest gain in harvest. This category, comprising large, corporate landowners, added 219 million board feet in 2010. This brought the industry total to 2.2 billion board feet, an 11 percent increase from the 2009 harvest of just under 2 billion board feet.

Although forest industry accounted for the largest volume increase in harvest from the 2009 numbers, the other private sector—often called non-industrial or family forestland owners—accounted for the largest percentage growth in harvest from 2009 to 2010. Cutting 93 million board feet in 2009, these smaller landowners expanded harvests by 145 percent to a total of 228 million board feet in 2010.

Other notable increases in 2010 timber harvest include those of the U.S. Forest Service and State owner classes, each with an increase of 62 million board feet over 2009 totals. From 2009 the State total increased 26 percent to 297 million board feet, and the Forest Service total grew 32 percent to 254 million board feet.

Both State and Forest Service harvest totals for 2010 are the highest for those ownership classes since 2005.

With a harvest of 79 million board feet, the Native American tribes’ totals are up 14 million board feet from 2009 – the highest they have been since 2004.

As for individual county totals, Lane edged out Douglas for the No. 1 spot in the state, 455 to 436 million board feet. Lane County harvest grew 35 percent from 2009, most of this increase coming from forest industry, other private and U.S. Forest Service lands.

Western Oregon
The 2010 western Oregon timber harvest increased 18 percent from 2009 to 2.8 billion board feet. All western Oregon counties increased harvest from 2009 except Clatsop, Hood River, Josephine and Polk Counties.

Eastern Oregon
Eastern Oregon’s 2010 timber harvest increased 16 percent from 2009 to 400 million board feet. Eastern Oregon counties whose harvest increased in 2010 include Deschutes, Grant, Klamath, Lake, Morrow, Wallowa and Wasco. Klamath County led eastern Oregon counties with a harvest of 94 million board feet – a 23 percent increase from 2009.

China syndrome
The wild card in 2011 is China. The U.S. housing market remains depressed, non-residential construction is weak, and log prices have declined from recent highs. Resurgence in construction markets hinges on a broader economic recovery, but the nation’s economic recovery has hit a soft patch. Unless an unforeseen return in domestic housing demand occurs, log and lumber export levels, including to China, will drive log prices and timber harvests in 2011.

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Bernanke Cites Housing in Economic Outlook Speech

Bernanke Cites Housing in Economic Outlook Speech

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

In a speech on the economic outlook of the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke highlighted challenges in the housing sector as one reason why economic growth is weak:

In contrast, virtually all segments of the construction industry remain troubled. In the residential sector, low home prices and mortgage rates imply that housing is quite affordable by historical standards; yet, with underwriting standards for home mortgages having tightened considerably, many potential homebuyers are unable to qualify for loans. Uncertainties about job prospects and the future course of house prices have also deterred potential buyers. Given these constraints on the demand for housing, and with a large inventory of vacant and foreclosed properties overhanging the market, construction of new single-family homes has remained at very low levels, and house prices have continued to fall. The housing sector typically plays an important role in economic recoveries; the depressed state of housing in the United States is a big reason that the current recovery is less vigorous than we would like.

As we have noted before, with credit channels tightening for homebuyers and blocked for many small businesses, the construction sector is unlikely to assume its usual role in leading the economy out of recession, despite evidence of pent-up housing demand.

Bernanke also confirmed that the Fed will continue its accommodative monetary policy stance:

The U.S. economy is recovering from both the worst financial crisis and the most severe housing bust since the Great Depression, and it faces additional headwinds ranging from the effects of the Japanese disaster to global pressures in commodity markets. In this context, monetary policy cannot be a panacea. Still, the Federal Reserve’s actions in recent years have doubtless helped stabilize the financial system, ease credit and financial conditions, guard against deflation, and promote economic recovery. All of this has been accomplished, I should note, at no net cost to the federal budget or to the U.S. taxpayer.

Although it is moving in the right direction, the economy is still producing at levels well below its potential; consequently, accommodative monetary policies are still needed. Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established. At the same time, the longer-run health of the economy requires that the Federal Reserve be vigilant in preserving its hard-won credibility for maintaining price stability. As I have explained, most FOMC participants currently see the recent increase in inflation as transitory and expect inflation to remain subdued in the medium term. Should that forecast prove wrong, however, and particularly if signs were to emerge that inflation was becoming more broadly based or that longer-term inflation expectations were becoming less well anchored, the Committee would respond as necessary. Under all circumstances, our policy actions will be guided by the objectives of supporting the recovery in output and employment while helping ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the Federal Reserve’s mandate.

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