Select Page

In a reversal of the previous few months, for January 2021 the softwood lumber production volumes and sawmill capacity utilization rates in Canada improved significantly, while that in the United States dropped by a notable amount.

North America Softwood Lumber Production: Jan 2021

As people look for answers to why lumber prices continue to go so much higher, these production and sawmill capacity data explains a lot.
Given that housing and remodelling activity is going higher even than last year, it is clear there simply is not enough solid wood building materials supply to keep up with relentless, and increasing, demand.

US and Canadian housing activity in the month of April is actually showing increases over the sharp rises of the previous year, and the latest data of demand demonstrates more strength yet to come as spring arrives. Demand for softwood lumber is increasing as sawmills are literally just doing their best to keep up.
After improving for most of last year, compared to the same month one year ago, for January 2021 softwood lumber production in the US dropped nominally, down by -5.3%, says the latest issue of the Western Wood Products Association’s monthly Lumber Track.
US lumber production volumes in January were 3,060 mmfbm compared to one year ago when it was 3,230 mmfbm. Indeed, looking at the month of January against December 2020, US softwood lumber production fell by -3% from 3,153 mmfbm for December 2020.
Last month’s update here:
After dropping abysmally for most of last year, softwood lumber production in Canada improved dramatically in January 2021 compared to the previous month. Manufacturing volumes increased by +9.7% in January 2021, to 2,003 mmfbm, compared to the same month last year when it was 1,826 mmfbm.
Specifically in British Columbia, sawmill production volumes for January 2021 improved significantly, up by +17% to 819 mmfbm, compared to January 2020 when it was 699 mmfbm.

North America Softwood Lumber Production, Sawmill Capacity Utilization, WWPA: January 2021

North America Sawmill Capaciaty Utilization Rates: Jan 2021

US sawmill production as a per cent of practical capacity for January 2021 improved to 91% from 87% in the same month last year, said the Western Wood Products Association’s monthly Lumber Track.
After terrible lows for most of last year, Canadian sawmill production as a per cent of practical capacity recovered significantly in January 2021, to 85% compared to one year ago, when it started dropping off the cliff to 70%.