Q1 2023 Forisk Wood Fiber Review: U.S. Prices Ease

Tight labor markets, slowing paper demand, and cooling lumber output all contributed to fiber price volatility through 2022 and into early 2023. A weighted average of North American fiber prices reported in the Forisk Wood Fiber Review increased 9% year-over-year in Q1 2023. Wood chip prices increased at a faster pace than pulpwood roundwood in both the U.S. and Canada (Figure). U.S. roundwood prices increased only 1% year-over-year compared to a 10% increase in chip prices. Canadian roundwood prices increased 17% and chip prices rose 26% year-over-year.

Figure: Average U.S. and Canada pulpwood roundwood and chip prices, Q1 2022-Q1 2023. Source: Forisk Wood Fiber Review

On a quarterly basis, fiber prices stabilized in the U.S. Northeast and U.S. West in Q1 2023 following a tumultuous 2022. While prices dropped only slightly, an end to rapid price growth provides hope for fiber consumers. In the West, softwood fiber prices fell 4% for chips and 18% for pulplogs quarter-over-quarter. Northeast U.S. prices halted their upward progression for all fiber types except hardwood roundwood, which increased 4% for the quarter. Softwood prices in the Lake States increased, continuing a year-long growth trend for roundwood fiber, up 26% since Q1 2022. U.S. South fiber prices fell for all product types in the South Central and Southeast. Hardwood roundwood in the Southeast was the only exception, with flat prices in Q1 2023.

In Western Canada, British Columbia prices rose in Q1 2023. Fiber shortages remain challenging in the region. In Eastern Canada, softwood roundwood prices increased 6% in Ontario and Quebec. Maritime prices were unchanged. Softwood chip prices in Eastern Canada increased as annual supply agreements reset for 2023. Hardwood prices were less volatile, up 4% year-over-year in Eastern Canada.

Source: https://forisk.com/blog/2023/03/29/q1-2023-forisk-wood-fiber-review-u-s-prices-ease/