Wood fibre global markets

Global wood fibre prices have trended upward in 2018 according to Wood Resources International LLC. In fact this trend became visible in 2014. Read more to find out how this affected global markets.

Wood chips, as well as pulpwood prices, were typically higher worldwide last year than in 2017. Softwood Fibre Price Index (SFPI) and also the Wood Fibre Consumer Price Index (HFPI) reached levels that have not been seen in 4 years. According to Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ), the SFPI, as well as the HFPI, raised by 6.4% and 4.6%, from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2018 respectively. Wood fibre costs varied between 45% and 70% of the prices for the manufacturing of pulp around the globe in the last quarter of 2018.

Countries affected by wood fibre price changes

It’s notable that over the past two years, softwood fibre rates were up over 20% in the United States Northwest, Western Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and also Germany. The only areas where fibre costs have fallen since 2016 were Eastern Canada and Brazil. The reason why fibre costs have declined largely in Eastern Canada is an oversupply of woodchips. On the other hand, in Brazil, this was caused by weakening Brazilian currency. In Ontario and also Quebec growing lumber manufacturing has actually created sufficient products of residual chips while demand for wood fibre has gone down. The result is that wood chip costs have fallen by virtually 50% in 6 years causing obstacles for many sawmills who are looking to sell their chip volumes.

wood fibre production site

Wood fibre costs varied between 45% and 70% of the prices for the manufacturing of pulp around the globe in the last quarter of 2018.

According to WRQ who has been tracking the market on a regular basis, the costs of hardwood pulpwood have increased in all but one of the 16 countries, throughout the past two years. Pulp mills in several of the major hardwood pulp-producing areas, (i.e. China, Finland, Indonesia, Spain), have experienced an increase in fibre costs by 10% to 30% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2018.

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It is worth noting that the prices of wood chips imported to China have actually gone up gradually from late 2017 to early 2019. This is primarily due to raised costs of wood chips that have been sourced from countries like Chile or Australia which are considered to be higher cost countries. At the end of 2018 and early this year, import rates for hardwood chips to China and Japan were virtually the exact same. This differs from previous years during which costs for overseas wood chips shipped to Japan were between £15-55 ODMT (Oven Dry Metric Ton) higher than for those shipped to China.

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