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Chinese demand for lumber grows

British Columbia and Russia are considered to be the two biggest winners as China’s ongoing demand for lumber imports continues to expand, according to a report from International Wood Markets.

Having nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007, China's lumber imports are now expected to double again in the 2007-to-2010 time frame, and then double again by 2015.

China has seen fast growth in its sawn lumber output since 2001, but this has not been enough to keep up with surging domestic demand. The report looks for potential winners given the Chinese situation, and it points to the Canadian lumber industry, particularly in British Columbia.

“Despite Russian lumber having better wood quality,” said Gerry Van Leeuwen, VP and co-author of the report. “Canadian lumber is cheaper, kiln-dried and very consistent in size and presentation. As softwood lumber is used heavily in concrete forming for constructing high rises, the Chinese market is normally less concerned about overall lumber quality and more concerned about competitive prices. This has been a boon to Canadian lumber exporters, especially when U.S. lumber demand and prices have been dismal (the worst in decades).”

Canada is expected to over take Russia and grab a leading softwood market share in China of 40% to 45% and close to 2.5 billion board ft. That would represent a 12-fold increase in just four years.


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