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Global hardwood fibre prices increase in Q4 20, says WRQ report


March 19, 2021
By Wood Resources International LLC

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Photo: Annex Business Media

Wood Resources International has released its summary of global forest industry activity for the fourth quarter of 2020, citing some movement in prices for hardwood logs and softwood pulp.

Global pulpwood markets

The Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) was up 1.4 per cent from Q3 ’20 to Q4 ’20 to US$82.28/odmt. This was the second quarter-over-quarter increase of the HFPI from the 15-year low in Q2 ’20.

The Q4 ’20 Global Softwood Fiber Price Index remained practically unchanged from a year ago.

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Global pulp markets

Softwood pulp prices surged surprisingly in early 2021, while price movements for hardwood pulp were more modest.

China’s pulp imports jumped in Q4 ’20 and resulted in an all-time high of almost 24 million tons for the entire year. This was the 10th consecutive year of increases, and China now imports about 40 per cent of the world’s pulp trade.

Global timber markets

The Global Sawlog Price Index rose eight per cent in Q4 ’20 as demand for logs increased throughout North America and Europe.

The most significant sawlog price increases occurred in Western U.S., Western Canada, Central Europe and Estonia. Of the 21 regions included in the index, only Northwest Russia and Poland saw falling sawlog prices from Q3 ’20 to Q4′ 20.

The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI), denominated in Euros, also rose by eight per cent in Q4 ’20, up from an 11-year low in the Q3 ’20. The most significant price increases were seen in Austria, Germany, Norway, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Global lumber markets

Softwood lumber imports to the US were up 4.5 per cent year-over-year in 2020, contrary to most other regions of the world, reports the WRQ. Importation to China and Japan was down 11 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

Unexpectedly, U.S. lumber prices reached record highs in early 2021 because of an active home building sector, tight lumber supply, low wood inventories and logistical disruptions.

The four largest producers and exporters of softwood lumber in Europe, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Austria, accounted for two-thirds of the continent’s total export volume in 2020.

Lumber imports to China fell dramatically in Q4 ’20, resulting in a 30 per cent decline in import volume for the entire year from 2019.

Global biomass markets

European residential pellet prices increased slightly in Q4 ’20, while import prices changes for industrial pellets from North America were mixed.

Global trade of wood pellets increased for the tenth consecutive year in 2020.

The Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) is a 70-page report, established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries. The report tracks prices for sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellets worldwide and reports on trade and wood market developments in most key regions around the world. For more insights on the latest international forest product market trends, please go to WoodPrices.com.