Non-Canadian Softwood Lumber Imports Hit a 10-Year High

Filed in Economics, Material Costs by on May 22, 2017 1 Comment

In a positive development for home builders, lumber consumers and housing affordability, U.S. softwood lumber imports (excluding shipments from Canada) hit a decade high in the first quarter.

European suppliers – including Austria, Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Romania – accounted for nearly all the increase.

This is significant, given the ongoing lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada and the fact that U.S. has recently imposed countervailing duties averaging 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S.

NAHB is leading the fight against these duties, which will raise the cost of housing for millions of American households.

Last year, 33% of the softwood lumber used in the U.S. was imported, and more than 95% of those imports came from Canada.

Since the U.S. must import lumber to meet the nation’s needs, NAHB is working to boost domestic production by urging policymakers to increase timber sales from publicly owned lands and making more federal forest lands available for logging in an environmentally sustainable way.

We also continue to seek out new suppliers to reduce reliance on Canadian lumber imports and ensure home builders can access a reliable, steady supply at affordable prices.

This increase in non-Canadian lumber imports can help to mitigate the artificial price hikes resulting from tariffs on Canadian lumber.

While lumber prices remain volatile, prices have broadly declined recently, led by a 4% drop in Southern Yellow Pine prices last week. Further, the past three weeks have seen some SPF (spruce, pine and fir) and Southern Yellow Pine products registering price declines of more than 10%.

NAHB continues to monitor the market closely.

For more information, contact David Logan at 800-368-5242 x8448.

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  1. Jim Long says:

    As I wrote on this site a few months ago, I felt that the best way to impact the price of Canadian lumber was to step up sourcing from other countries.

    Just to recap what I said, our company had a extremely large contract for residential housing product, and could not get the major materials suppliers to lower their pricing, so we sent out buyers to the source in Romania, and realized that we could purchase at pricing below the major material suppliers in the US for reasons I will not go into here.

    I would like to see the US remain a solid purchaser of Canadian lumber, but they need to understand that they are not a single source for these products.

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