U.S. sawmills in the first two months of 2020 produced 6.108 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber, up 4.2% from the 5.862 bbf produced in the same period a year earlier, according to the Western Wood Products Assn.’s preliminary Lumber Track report, released on May 14.
WWPA noted that the latest issue of Lumber Track is preliminary as Statistics Canada data on Canadian lumber production is not available at this time. No timeline is available for the release of January and later lumber production survey data from Canada because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Western U.S. sawmills in the first two months contributed 2.394 bbf to the total, up 0.5% from the prior year’s 2.382 bbf, while output from Southern sawmills was up 6.9% to 3.426 bbf from 3.204 bbf a year ago.
In February alone, U.S. sawmills produced 2.887 bbf – up 6.6% from February 2019’s 2.709 bbf, but down 10.4% from production in January 2020 of 3.221 bbf.
Sawmills in the West contributed 1.149 bbf to February’s total, up 3.8% year-over-year from 1.107 bbf, but down 7.7% compared with January’s volume of 1.245 bbf. Southern sawmills accounted for 1.602 bbf in February, a year-over-year increase of 8.6% from 1.475 bbf in February 2019, but down 12.2% compared with 1.824 bbf in January.
Apparent U.S. softwood lumber consumption in the first two months of this year was 8.016 bbf, up 5.5% from 7.597 bbf in the first two months of 2019. In February, apparent U.S. consumption was 3.871 bbf, up 9.5% from 3.534 bbf a year earlier, and down 6.6% from 4.146 bbf in January.
U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 88% in the first two months of 2020, up from 83% in the same period a year ago. In the month of February, production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 87%, down from 88% in January but up from 80% in February 2019.