Among the hundreds of data trends we closely watch, U.S. hardwood lumber exports and log exports are among some of the more important ones, given their relationship to demand for hardwood timber in our region.

The most recent monthly data published by the U.S. Foreign Agriculture Service (below) show export shipments of our maple and white oak logs have increased considerably since July. Meanwhile monthly exports of U.S. cherry and red oak logs have fallen during the same period.

Conversely, when we turn our attention from hardwood logs, instead, to hardwood lumber, we see foreign demand for U.S. hardwood lumber increased considerably in January (the most recent month of published data), compared to December for all four primary species groups we track. What does this mean for eastern hardwood timber markets? It’s likely that Chinese demand for U.S. hardwood logs and lumber will continue to decline slightly, while demand from Canada, Mexico, Viet Nam and some European countries will likely increase in the coming year, lending stability to these markets, albeit at prices lower than 2022’s recent cycle-peaks. We expect overall demand for hardwood upper grade sawtimber to remain moderately strong in the near-term. At the same time, markets for hardwood pulpwood and lower grade hardwood sawtimber could be challenging this year, simply because those markets are driven by different forces than those affecting foreign demand for U.S. hardwood lumber and veneer logs. Several factors impact foreign demand for U.S. hardwood logs and lumber.

U.S. Hardwood Log Exports (detail)U.S. Hardwood Lumber Exports (detail)

U.S. Hardwood Log Export Volume vs U.S. Hardwood Lumber Export Volume

U.S. Hardwood Log Exports (detail)

Log Export Volume (detail)

U.S. Hardwood Lumber Exports (detail)

Lumber Export Volume (detail)

For economic analysis, forestry consulting, and timberland appraisal services you can trust, call your friends at FORECON. We’ve diligently served clients like you since 1954!

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