According to trade data compiled by the US Census Bureau through October, 20171 exports of southern yellow pine (SYP) logs are on track to increase 65 percent over 2016. Prices2 for Douglas fir, Hemlock and SYP are also reflecting an increase this year over last year.
However, exports on an annualized basis in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) are trending down. Doug Fir exports continue a downward slide, dropping 48 percent since 2013. Hemlock exports, which were up last year due to Chinese demand, are also on a 5-year slide.
Alternatively, SYP continues its upward trend driven by exports to China, gaining a roughly 7 percent increase in the export market share year-over-year (YoY). It also looks like the Chinese are starting to understand the market better, finding a floor on price around the $150-$165/m3 range.
Doug Fir Destinations
- Japan continues to be the major importer of Doug Fir logs out of the PNW, but both Japan and China (particularly China) continue to decrease their import volumes since 2014. However, South Korea is on pace to purchase more volume this year.
- China is decreasing its purchases of Hem-fir out of the PNW, but it looks like South Korea is on pace to increase its volume compared to last year.
- China continues to purchase more SYP out of the US South and is on pace to almost double last year’s purchases.
 Based on U.S. Census Bureau district trade data for domestic exports of harmonized commodity codes: 4403200020, 4403200025, 4403200030, 4403200060 and 4403200065
 Prices are US dollars per cubic meter and are the Free Alongside Ship value at the port of export. It includes the transaction price, freight, insurance and any other charges in placing the logs alongside the carrier at the port of export. It excludes any cost of loading aboard the carrier, insurance and transportation beyond the port of export.