US South timber prices during the third quarter of 2017 increased from the second quarter, with nearly all pulpwood and pine log products going up by more than +2 percent.
On a Southwide basis, pine pulpwood prices increased to $10.29/ton during 3Q2017 (+8.7 percent), and all three regions saw prices increase for this product. The East-South experienced the largest increase to $13.05/ton, or +12.8 percent, the Mid-South rose to $9.11/ton, an increase of +11.6 percent, and the West-South showed a smaller increase of +3.4 percent to $8.17/ton.
Hardwood pulpwood prices also increased, rising +4.5 percent during 3Q to $6.56/ton. The Mid-South region experienced the largest surge of +12.3 percent to $7.69/ton, the West-South climbed +9.0 percent to $8.34/ton, but the East-South slipped drastically by -12.2 percent to $4.02/ton.
Pine chip-n-saw prices rose to $17.63/ton, an increase of +2.8 percent Southwide. Both the Mid-South and East-South regions saw the minor increases, as prices rose 2.9 percent to $16.60/ton and +2.5 percent to $20.34/ton, respectively. However, the West-South region dropped to $13.07/ton, a -1.0 percent decrease.
Pine sawtimber, however, continued its slow downward trend, declining -1.0 percent to a Southwide average of $24.43/ton, with all regions demonstrating a minor drop in price. Mid-South pine sawtimber prices slid -3.8 percent to $22.84/ton, and East-South prices dipped -0.7 percent to $25.28/ton. Prices in the West-South dropped -0.3 percent to $25.59/ton.
US GDP continues to increase from quarter to quarter and will likely continue to rise in the near term. The Atlanta Federal Reserve recently projected that the US economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in 3Q2017. Continued growth at this pace could affect demand for pulp and sawtimber in the coming months. Damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the South is also adding to demand as rebuilding efforts continue. While demand for pine sawtimber is steady as 2017 draws to a close, there continues to be an oversupply of large logs available on the market.