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Global pulpwood, pulp prices going strong in Q2 2021, according to latest WRQ report


September 30, 2021
By Wood Resources International LLC

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Wood Resources International’s latest quarterly report shows increases in pulp and pulpwood prices globally in the second quarter of 2021. Some regions and segments show record-high surges. High demand and limited supply have contributed to these results.

Global pulpwood markets

Both WRI’s global fibre price indexes showed increases in the second quarter of 2021.

Softwood fibre costs were generally higher worldwide in the second quarter of this year. This resulted in a two-year high for the Softwood Fiber Price Index ( SFPI).

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The Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) rose by one percent quarter-over-quarter, with the discrepancy between the two indices rising to the widest margin since 2007.

Eastern Canada, the US South and Spain stand out as the regions where the costs of hardwood pulp logs have gone up the most.

Global pulp markets

Global trade of market pulp is on pace to reach a record high in 2021, with China importing almost 30 percent of globally traded pulp.

Although the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020, saw a period of stable pulp prices, prices took off towards the end of the year.

Global Timber Markets

Softwood sawlog prices have gone up in 21 of 22 WRQ regions worldwide in the past year. By far, the most significant increases have occurred throughout British Columbia and Europe.

The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) jumped 10 percent quarter-over-quarter in the second quarter of 2021. This change was the fifth consecutive quarterly increase and the highest level in seven years.

The rise of sawlog prices in much of Europe has taken the European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI), denoted in Euros, to an all-time high of over €96 per cumic metre.

Global Lumber Markets

Lumber has been in high demand in the US and Europe throughout 2021. The limited supply resulted in temporary price surges to record high levels during the spring, followed by substantial declines in early summer.

Canadian lumber prices have spiked similarly to US prices, with record highs in May followed by sharp declines during June through August.

Due to the strong US lumber market, Canada and the US reduced lumber exports overseas in the first half of 2021.

Sawmill profits continued to rise in the spring and early summer and reached alltime highs in America and Europe.

In the US South, gross margins fell as lumber prices crashed, but thanks to low sawlog costs, sawmills were still running at profitable levels into the third quarter of this year.

Global Biomass Markets

Net imports of pellets to Europe have gone up the past two years as production on the continent has not kept up with consumption.

Over the past five years, the Netherlands and Japan have increased their market shares of globally traded wood pellets substantially.

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.