U.S. sawmills produced 20.687 billion board ft. (bbf) of softwood lumber in the first seven months of 2019, edging down 0.1% from 20.705 bbf a year earlier.
Western U.S. sawmills accounted for 8.416 bbf of the seven-month total, down 1.7% from 8.561 bbf in the same period of 2018, while sawmills in the southern U.S. contributed 11.298 bbf, up 1.2% from 11.169 bbf in the previous year.
in July, U.S. sawmills produced 3.017 bbf, up 3.7% from 2.908 bbf in July 2018, and up 4.8% from 2.879 bbf in June 2019.
Sawmills in the West contributed 1.202 bbf to July’s production volume, a 2.9% year-over-year gain from 1.168 bbf, and up 4.7% from 1.148 bbf in June of this year. Sawmills in the South produced 1.673 bbf, up 4.4% from last year’s 1.603 bbf and up 4.8% from 1.596 bbf in the previous month.
Apparent U.S. softwood lumber consumption in the seven-month period was 28,541 bbf, up slightly from last year’s 28.507 bbf by 0.1%. Consumption in July at 4.047 bbf was down 2.5% from 4.149 bbf last year, and 0.5% below June’s volume of 4.065 bbf.
Canadian softwood lumber production/consumption
In Canada, softwood lumber production in the first seven months was 14.720 bbf, a 10.1% year-over-year decline from 16.371 bbf. Of that total, sawmills in British Columbia contributed 6.104 bbf, an 18.9% decline from 7.523 bbf in the first seven months of last year. The volume produced by sawmills east of the Rockies also fell, by 2.6% to 8.616 bbf from 8.848 bbf last year.
In July alone, Canada’s softwood production was 1.871 bbf, down 14.2% from last year’s 2.180 bbf, and down 7.4% from 2.020 bbf in June 2019.
Production by sawmills in British Columbia accounted for 780 million board ft. (mmbf) of July’s output, compared with 1.051 bbf last year – a 25.8% drop. Sawmills east of the Rockies produced 1.091 bbf in July, down 3.4% year-over-year from 1.129 bbf, and down 9.1% from 1.200 bbf in June of this year.
Apparent Canadian softwood lumber consumption in the seven-month period fell 15.0% from last year, to 4.921 bbf from 5.792 bbf. In July alone, consumption at 664 mmbf was down 15.5% from last year’s 786 mmbf, and down 8.2% from 724 mmbf in the previous month.
U.S. and Canada utilization/inventories
U.S. production as a percentage of practical capacity averaged 83% in the first seven months, down from the average in the same period last year of 86%, while the percentage in Canada dropped to 80% from 89%.
U.S. inventories edged up 0.8% to 3.027 bbf in July from 3.004 bbf in the same month a year earlier. Canadian inventories fell 6.8% to 3.118 bbf from 3.345 bbf last year.