Panels & Furniture Asia Mar/Apr 2018

March / April 2018 • Issue 2 • PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 48 MATERIALS D emand for U.S. hardwood grade lumber increased last year. Much of the growth was anticipated based on positive performance by key indicators leading up to the start of 2017. The economy, residential construction, manufacturing sentiment, and consumer spending are among the measures commonly used to assess business direction. Evaluated data include the U.S., China, and other international markets that have influence on U.S. hardwood demand. U.S. consumption of grade hardwood lumber increased four per cent in 2017. U.S. exports of grade hardwood lumber increased 13 per cent to 4.5million M 3 . China and Vietnamaccounted for more than 2.4 million M 3 (54%) and 448,000 M 3 (10%) of US exports, respectively. Consumption of U.S. industrial hardwood products decreased in 2017 from 2016, though by Q3, demand had begun to rebound. Compared to the HMR Executive® mid-year market analysis (July 2017), U.S. consumption of industrial hardwood lumber ended last year 295,000 M 3 higher than was projected by January to June data. The timing of the upturn in demand for industrial products was not anticipated. The short-term impact contributed to supply strains. However, the longer-term effect from improved industrial markets can help strengthen U.S. hardwood supplies (see Fig. 1). The same key performance indicators used to project 2017 results were still trending upward at the start of 2018. When considering this information along with current market trends, it is reasonable to expect demand for U.S. hardwood lumber to increase over last year. That is the mindset of U.S. hardwood lumber producers. As such, it is reasonable to expect U.S. hardwood lumber production to increase. Figure 1: Consumption of U.S. hardwood lumber by major market groups Figure 2: U.S. exports of hardwood logs (in cubic metres) By Judd Johnson, Hardwood Market Report HARDWOOD MARKET REPORT