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Global sawlog prices rose 8% in the 4Q/20 as demand for logs increased throughout North America and Europe.

The most significant sawlog price increases occurred in Western US, Western Canada, Central Europe, and Estonia. Of the 21 regions included in the Index, only Northwest Russia and Poland saw falling sawlog prices from the 3Q/20 to the 4Q/20.

The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI), denominated in Euros, also rose by 8% in 4Q/20, up from an 11-year low in the 3Q/20. The most significant price increases were seen in Austria, Germany, Norway, Estonia, and the Czech Republic.

Global Pulpwood Markets

The Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) was up 1.4% from the 3Q/20 to the 4Q/20 to US$82.28/odmt. This was the second q-o-q increase of the HFPI from the 15-year low in the 2Q/20.

The 4Q/20 Global Softwood Fiber Price Index remained practically unchanged from a year ago.

Global Pulp Markets

Softwood pulp prices surged surprisingly in early 2021, while price movements for hardwood pulp were more modest.

China’s pulp imports jumped in the 4Q/20 and resulted in an all-time high of almost 24 million tons for the entire year. This was the tenth consecutive year of increases, and China now imports about 40% of the world’s pulp trade.

Global Lumber Markets

Softwood lumber imports to the US were up 4.5% y-o-y in 2020, contrary to most other regions of the world, reports the WRQ. Importation to China and Japan was down 11% and 13%, respectively.

Unexpectedly, US lumber prices reached record highs in early 2021 because of an active home building sector, tight lumber supply, low wood inventories, and logistical disruptions.

The four largest producers and exporters of softwood lumber in Europe, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Austria, accounted for 2/3 of the continent’s total export volume in 2020.

Lumber imports to China fell dramatically in the 4Q/20, resulting in a 30% decline in import volume for the entire year from 2019.

Global Biomass Markets

European residential pellet prices increased slightly in the 4Q/20, while import prices changes for industrial pellets from North America were mixed.

Global trade of wood pellets increased for the tenth consecutive year in 2020.

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