While global trade of softwood lumber has been on an upward trend, its price fell in many countries during the last part of 2014, reports Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

Global trade of softwood lumber has continued to trend upward ever since the global financial crises in 2008. In 2014, export volumes were up 5 to 8 percent for most of the largest lumber-exporting countries in the world, including Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany.

Of the top 15 exporting countries, only Austria, the U.S., New Zealand and the Czech Republic reduced their export volumes in 2014 compared to the previous year.

Lumber consumption increased 6.9 percent in the U.S. in 2014 compared the previous year, which might explain the drop in U.S. exports, according to the Western Wood Products Association (WPPA). Higher demand for lumber resulted in increases in lumber production in the Western and Southern states, while sawmills in British Columbia reduced production in 2014 due to a drop in price.

Lumber prices declined during much of the fall of 2014 in both Sweden and Finland because of the weakening of the export market during the second half of the year, reports WRQ. A higher sales tax in Japan curbed consumer spending and caused housing starts to drop 11 percent, while a weaker Yen caused prices to drop.

And as its economy slowed down, the demand for lumber in China weakened during the second half of 2014, with import volumes of softwood lumber in the last quarter of the year falling 9 percent from the third quarter of 2014 and 6 percent from the same quarter in 2013. The average import price for softwood lumber stayed fairly flat for most of the summer and fall of 2014.

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