China’s appetite for British Columbia lumber grew at a record pace in 2009 in volume and value, providing sawmillers here with a needed new market to counter stumbling American demand.
Lumber exports to China hit 1.63 million board feet in 2009, more than twice the volume shipped in 2008. Those exports generated $327 million in revenues, a 70-per-cent increase over 2008.
The U.S. market is still this province’s primary customer. Americans bought 7.48 billion board feet of lumber valued at $1.54 billion in 2009.
But China’s rise has caught the attention of industry leaders who see the potential for that kind of growth to continue as China’s appetite for wood continues to outstrip its ability to supply it. Chief executive officers at most major forest companies are heading to China later this week to meet with new customers and for the signing of a new memorandum of understanding with Chinese housing authorities. It will be their second trip in the last four months.
“China is emerging as a critical strategic market for coastal producers,” said Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association, who plans to attend the event in China. “We get weekly inquiries here from folks interested in buying both lumber and logs.” Read More