West coast log and lumber exports decreased in first quarter of 2015

May 28, 2015, USDA Forest Service

Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 272 million board feet in the first quarter of 2015, a decrease of nearly 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station reported today. During this same period, west coast lumber exports declined 4 percent in volume to 162 million board feet.

The total value of these decreased by more than 21 percent to $200 million, while, for , the total value decreased by more than 3 percent to $123 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.

"Although China's importation of west coast logs and lumber decreased in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014, China remains the dominant consumer in the west coast's export market," said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who conducted the analysis and compiled the data. "Sixty-three percent of the 's log exports and more than 28 percent of its lumber were shipped to China in the first quarter of 2015."

Other highlights:

  • Nationwide, total U.S. log exports increased nearly 12 percent in volume in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, while the value decreased by a half percent;
  • Nationwide, total U.S. lumber exports in the first quarter of 2015 decreased by more than 4 percent in volume compared to the of 2014, while the value decreased by more than 6 percent;
  • West coast log exports represented 37 percent of total U.S. log exports in the first quarter of 2015, down from 53 percent in the first quarter of 2014. West coast lumber exports represented 21 percent of total U.S. lumber exports, down from 29 percent this same period last year.

The data were compiled using the statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, an annual station publication that provides current information on the region's lumber and plywood production as well as employment in forest industries.

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