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Despite second quarter jump, West coast log and lumber exports down from 2014 totals

usfs-logoPORTLAND, Ore. August 14, 2015. Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 329 million board feet in volume in the second quarter of 2015, an increase of more than 21 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station reported today. During this same period, west coast lumber exports increased by 16 percent to 189 million board feet.

The total value of these exports also increased compared to the first quarter of 2015—by 20 percent for log exports, to a total of $240 million, and by more than 12 percent for lumber exports, to a total of $139 million.

Despite these recent increases, west coast exports of logs and lumber in the first half of 2015 are lower than they were during the first half of 2014.

“Port strikes during the first quarter of 2015 reduced overall log and lumber exports from the west coast, which makes the increases we saw in the second quarter significant,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who conducted the analysis and compiled the data. “Although these numbers represent a within-year increase in exports, the west coast’s 2015 log and lumber exports to date have decreased significantly compared to 2014 levels, mainly due to reduced demand from China.”

Compared to the first half of 2014, log exports in the first half of 2015 decreased by nearly 39 percent in volume, while lumber exports decreased by 30 percent in volume, Zhou said.

Other highlights:

·         Nationwide, 39 percent of outgoing logs and 29 percent of outgoing lumber were destined for China in the first half of 2015, compared to 48 percent of logs and 33 percent of lumber in the first half of 2014;

·         Nationwide, U.S. log exports decreased by nearly 21 percent and U.S. lumber exports decreased by more than 11 percent in volume in the first half of 2015, compared to the first half of 2014.

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

Forest Service, logging