European and American demand for wood products increased global wood trade in 2021

This year, strong demand for wood products in Europe and North America increased lumber trade in the first nine months of 2021 by around 3% year-on-year. In order of ranking, the exporting countries whose shipments increased the most are Finland, Canada, Germany and the Czech Republic. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the largest increases in imports in 2021 are all in Europe and the United States, where demand was high, while shipments to Asia and the MENA region declined due to l weakening in their construction sectors this year.

In 3Q/21, overseas lumber imports into the US fell 13% qoq to 1.3m m3. The decline follows a quarter where volumes hit their highest level in 15 years, with most shipments coming from Europe. Germany has been the top supplier of foreign lumber to the United States for the past five years, with a market share of around 35%, according to the WRQ. The second and third largest suppliers to the United States were Sweden and Brazil. European import prices fell around 20% QoQ in 3Q/21 as US domestic prices plunged.

Canada’s lumber exports fell around 13% QoQ in 3Q/21 to less than nine million m3. In the spring of 2021, many Western Canadian sawmills shifted their overseas sales to the US market, primarily due to record lumber prices in the neighboring country. Consequently, exports to China fell by more than 50% in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the previous year. Canadian export prices to the US in 2021 tracked US domestic prices with unprecedented price increases in the first half of the year, followed by a substantial decline in 3Q/21. The prices of lumber exports to Asia did not follow the American trend, but rather continued their upward movement during the fall.

Chinese softwood lumber imports increased 3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2021, but were still significantly lower than in the same quarter last year. This year, the largest declines in imports have been seen in shipments from Canada and Europe, as exporters in both regions turn to the strong US lumber market. However, despite lower import demand, Chinese import prices in 3Q/21 hit their highest levels in at least 15 years, driven by rising lumber values ​​in European and European markets. North American.

Sweden is the largest lumber exporter in Europe, shipping a record volume of 14 million m3 in 2020. In the first eight months of 2021, shipments fell by 6% year-on-year, mainly due to lower demand for wood in China, Egypt, and other MENA markets. Nevertheless, export volumes to major European markets have so far been higher in 2021 than they were last year. Sales value jumped 67% year-on-year and is on track to reach more than $5.0 billion (€4.2 billion) for the full year, reports the WRQ.

Finland, Europe’s second largest lumber exporter, increased its shipments by 16% in 2021, mainly due to higher sales to European countries. In contrast, shipments to China fell 40% year-on-year, a notable change as China was once Finland’s biggest market.

Are you interested in the Global Wood Products Market? The Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) is a 75-page report compiled in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries. The publication tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices and reports on timber trade and market developments in most key regions of the world. For more information on the latest trends in the international forest products market, visit

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