Early-year data points to a promising year for B.C.’s forestry sector. Total softwood lumber production reached a seasonally adjusted 2.65 million dry cubic metres. While down from February, production climbed 2.2% year over year, pushing year-to-date growth to 5.9%. This was the highest first-quarter production since 2007.
Production growth reflects increased international exports, which rose 21.5% from a year ago in the first quarter, with lower dollar-volume growth of 14.6% due to lower average prices. The gap between exports and production growth could reflect sales of existing inventories. Shipments to the U.S. jumped 37% while those to China remained largely the same and exports to Japan contracted.