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This Week in Wood: U.S. Consumption of Softwood to Rise Sharply through 2030

nelma lumber shipments

Demand for softwood lumber in the United States will grow at a record-breaking annual rate of 2.3 percent through the year 2030, according to a new study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International. While lumber consumed by the residential housing sector will continue to account for nearly 70% of the end-use market, non-residential construction will grow at the fastest rate, boosting its usage of total softwood lumber from roughly 11% in 2016 to nearly 14% by 2030.

“The study constructs a US softwood lumber supply curve for 2016 using actual supply statistics and estimated delivered softwood lumber costs for the key supplying regions. The study then evaluates how supply could change under alternative Demand Scenarios, based on regional projections of log costs, softwood lumber production, and likely US exports, to identify the most likely suppliers to the US market in 2025 and 2030.”

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Abundant softwood lumber from the U.S. South will help meet a lot of that demand, especially as Canadian lumber producers’ share of the U.S. market continues to decrease between 2017 and 2025. Harvest levels in some of Canada’s major lumber-producing regions like British Columbia will fall substantially over the next decade. Meanwhile, overseas suppliers of lumber to the United States – like Brazil, Chile and Nordic nations – will grab more of the market share up until 2025, after which they’re expected to see a decline.

So far, things are looking good in the U.S. Northeast, as Q2 shipments of lumber from NELMA mills continue to outpace previous records for the same time period.

The entire study can be purchased at


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