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What’s the Story With May 2023 Southern Pine Exports?

July 10, 2023

May 2023 Southern Pine exports, which includes treated lumber, were up 0.35% in May over April and up 5% over the same month in 2022. Softwood imports, meanwhile, were up 4.2% over the month and down 8.3% over the same month in 2022.

Overall, May 2023 Southern Pine and treated lumber exports outpaced the same period a year ago by 12%, 210 million board feet (Mbf) YTD compared to 186.8 Mbf in 2022.


Major notes of interest include…

  • Exports to China continue to surge in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. They’re up 338% YTD from 3.4 Mbf through May 2022 to 14.7 Mbf so far this year. This is mostly led by a 370% year-over-year increase in dressed SYP imports and a 278% increase in treated lumber.
    • Worth noting: China has imported more than 2.5 Mbf every month so far in 2023. There was only one month in 2022 where imports were above the 2 Mbf mark (2.3 Mbf in July 2022). While exports are surging so far this year, they are still far below historical levels because of trade tensions and high tariffs
  • Mexico retained its status as the largest export market (by volume) of Southern Pine and treated lumber for the third month after taking over the Dominican Republic. Exports to Mexico have nearly doubled in the past five years. They’re running 23% ahead of 2022 YTD with 47.9 Mbf in exports so far this year compared to the Dominican Republic’s 37.7 Mbf so far this year.
    • Worth noting: Mexico has been above the 7 Mbf import mark every month since recording 6 Mbf of imports in March 2022.
  • India’s total of SYP imports continued to skyrocket over the year. The country is now up 453% through May at 12.8 Mbf, mostly led by a 1,967% increase in rough SYP, which outpaces the 245% increase in dressed SYP.
    • Worth noting: India has been above the 1 Mbf import mark every month this year. It only recorded one month above the 1 Mbf mark in all of 2022.
  • With the exception of Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago (see below for country totals), the Caribbean and Central American region is experiencing a downward trend so far in 2023 compared to the first five months of 2022:
    • The Cayman Islands, down 50% YTD, from 3.7 Mbf to 1.8 Mbf in 2023.
    • The Netherlands Antilles, down 46% from 3.2 Mbf to 1.7 Mbf.
    • Haiti, down 44% from 5.5 Mbf to 3.1 Mbf.
    • Turks and Caicos, down 37% from 2 Mbf to 1.3 Mbf.
    • The Bahamas, down 26% from 12.5 Mbf to 9.2 Mbf.
    • The Leedward-Windward Islands, down 14% from 14.9 Mbf to 12.8 Mbf.
    • Colombia, down 14% from 2.6 Mbf to 2.2 Mbf.
    • Barbados, down 5% from 4.3 Mbf in 2022 to 4 Mbf.

Trending Up of Note

  • Belize: Up 151% from 1.7 Mbf to 4.3 Mbf. Belize has consistently imported more than 700 thousand board feet (mbf) every month so far this year.
  • Dominican Republic: Up 59% from 23.6 Mbf to 37.7 Mbf.
  • Jamaica: Up 52%, from 14.6 Mbf to 22 Mbf.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Up 9% from 3.9 Mbf to 4.3 Mbf.
  • Taiwan: Up 60% from 1.3 Mbf to 2 Mbf.
  • Micronesia: The Pacific Island joined the Mbf club in May, posting a 125% increase over the year from 888 mbf in 2022 to 2 Mbf YTD in 2023.
  • Honduras: The Central American country also joined the Mbf club in May, having imported 1.3 Mbf though the first five months of 2023 after reporting zero imports through the same period in 2022.

Trending Down

  • Philippines: Down 84% YTD, from 6.1 Mbf to 917 mbf (thousand board feet) so far in 2023.
    • Worth noting: Exports to the Philippines remain near record levels, while down so far this year.
  • Pakistan: Down 83% from 7.5 Mbf to 1.1 Mbf.
  • Netherlands: Down 48% from 4.8 Mbf to 2.5 Mbf in 2023.
  • Canada: Down 45% from 14 Mbf to 7.8 Mbf.

SFPA members: Don’t forget to check out the members-only site to get a full breakdown on every country’s import and export numbers for Southern Pine and treated lumber!

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