Western U.S. sawmills produced 4.3% more lumber in 2018

February 12, 2019
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WWPA/Fordaq
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Western U.S. sawmills produced 14.457 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in full-year 2018, a gain of 4.3% from output of 13.857 bbf in 2017, the Western Wood Products Assn. (WWPA) of Portland, Oregon, reported.

Coastal mills contributed 9.092 bbf to the 12-month total, up 6.0% from 8.573 bbf a year earlier, while inland mills accounted for 4.867 bbf -- up 1.6% from 4.790 bbf. California redwood production edged up 0.9% to 499 million board ft. (mmbf) from 494 mmbf.

In December alone, Western U.S. sawmills produced 1.025 bbf of softwood lumber, a 1.6% drop from 1.042 bbf in the previous year, and down 7.3% from 1.106 bbf in November 2018.

Coastal mills contributed 641 mmbf to December’s output, level with production in the previous year, but down 8.8% from 702 mmbf in November 2018. Volume from inland mills at 342 mmbf in December was down 6.6% year-over-year from 366 mmbf, and down 4.3% from the previous month’s production of 357 mmbf.

Output in December by California redwood mills was 43 mmbf, a 23.1% year-over-year advance from 35 mmbf, but down 7.7% from 46 mmbf in November 2018.

Softwood lumber inventories rose by 7.7% in December 2018 to 1.266 bbf from 1.176 bbf in the previous year.

In 2018, Western U.S. lumber mills operated at 82% of practical capacity, up from 79% in 2017. In December alone, production as a percentage of practical capacity was 77%, down slightly from November’s 79%, and from 78% in December 2017.