For full-year 2020, the softwood lumber production volumes and sawmill capacity utilization rates in Canada dropped by a large degree compared to the previous year, while that in the United States remained much more stable.
Compared to the previous year, for 2020 softwood lumber production in the US continued improving, increasing by another +4.3%, says the latest issue of the Western Wood Products Association’s monthly Lumber Track. Last year, US lumber production volumes were 36,689 mmfbm compared to 2019 when it was 35,165 mmfbm. Indeed, looking at the month of December against November 2020, US softwood lumber production grew by +13%, at 3,127 mmfbm in December compared to 2,870 mmfbm for November 2020.
December 2020 lumber production in the US was up +16%, compared to one year ago when it was 2,690 mmfbm for December 2019.
This latest data is very interesting because 2019 was not a great year for US housing starts and home building, so for Canadian lumber manufacturing to be this much lower indicates a difficult year indeed. In a future post Madison’s will examine the 2020 numbers against 2018, which was a much better year for construction activity thus for lumber sales and prices.
Experiencing significant drops for most of the year, softwood lumber production in Canada was down in full-year 2020 compared to the previous year. Manufacturing volumes dropped a total of -4% last year, to 23,055 mmfbm, compared to full-year 2019 when it was 24,011 mmfbm. Dropping quite a bit in 4Q 2020, comparing the month of December to November last year, Canadian softwood lumber production was down by a whopping -8.2%, at 1,853 mmfbm for December 2020 compared to 2,019 mmfbm in November.
Specifically in British Columbia, sawmill production volumes for full-year 2020 fell dramatically, down by a total -7.8% to 8,921 mmfbm, compared to full-year 2019 when it was 9,679 mmfbm.
North America Softwood Lumber Production, Sawmill Capacity Utilization, WWPA: December 2020
US sawmill production as a per cent of practical capacity for full-year maintained its steady level, at 86%, compared to 2019 when it was 85%, said the Western Wood Products Association’s monthly Lumber Track.
After terrible lows in April last year, Canadian sawmill production as a per cent of practical capacity plummeting again in December 2020, finishing the year at 77% compared to 2019 when it was 79%.