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Expected US softwood demand will increase in the next 13 years – where will the wood come from?

09-05-2018
A new study from Wood Resources International forecasts that softwood consumption in the US will reach all-time highs by 2030. As a consequence, increased domestic demand for overseas supply and upward pressure on sawlog prices are likely to happen in the future. Today, US mostly relies on domestically sourced wood, but import volumes to the US are substantial and reached 34 % of the total consumption in 2016. The future demand for softwood is primarily coming from a continued increasing residential housing sector with an estimated share of about 70 % of the total lumber consumption by 2030. However, the “non-residential construction” category is forecasted to grow the fastest and increase its share of softwood consumption from 11 % in 2016 to 14 % by 2030.

At HD Forest, we expect that the forecasted increase of US softwood demand will have an indirect effect on the Baltic wood processing industry. Most wood imported to the US is from Canada and the total volume of Baltic wood export only represents a small amount in the world market. On average, overseas shipments amount to 4.8 % of the total US imports over the past decade, which are likely to increase to 6-7 % in the coming decades (forecasted in the base case scenario). However, the changes in availability of wood resources and forecasted increases in wood raw material costs for sawmills around the world are likely to influence the trade of softwood and other wood materials not only in the US, but in the entire industry. 

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