Hardwood Fiber Costs For the Global Pulp Industry Increased Over 15% in 2009

Wood fiber costs for pulp mills worldwide increased for the fourth consecutive quarter in the 4Q/09. During 2009, the Hardwood Wood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) moved up 15.4%, while the Softwood Wood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) was up 10.5%,

Feb. 11, 2010 - Pulp markets have been remarkably strong during 2009 despite the global financial crisis, says Hakan Ekstrom of Wood Resources International (WRI).

According to WRI's latest report, Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ), from April through December, the softwood market pulp price (NBSK) jumped 45%. Strong pulp markets and a tight wood fiber supply pushed wood fiber costs upward last year.

The WRQ Global Wood Fiber Price Indices (both softwood and hardwood) have gone up for four consecutive quarters. The Hardwood Wood Fiber Price Index (HFPI) reached US$106.19/odmt in the 4Q, which was up 7% from the previous quarter. The HFPI increased 15.4% during 2009, which was the third highest level since the launching of the Index in 1988.

The biggest price increases in US dollar terms during the 4Q occurred in Germany, Finland, Spain and Australia. Those four countries also had the highest delivered wood costs of all countries tracked by the Wood Resource Quarterly. Prices in both Spain and Australia were close to their all-time highs, WRQ said.

The Global Average Wood Fiber Price Index is a weighted average of delivered wood fiber prices for the pulp industry in 17 regions tracked by WRQ. These regions together account for 85-90% of the world’s wood-based pulp production capacity. The price is based on current quarter average prices, and country/regional wood fiber consumption data.

The Softwood Wood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) also went up last quarter, WRQ said.

The SFPI increased 5.6% to US$98.34/odmt mainly as a result of higher wood fiber costs in Sweden, Finland, the US, Spain and Chile. The SFPI is now US$7.85/odmt lower than HFPI, which is the biggest difference ever recorded. Just three years ago the circumstances were reversed; the SFPI being more than $10/odmt higher than the HFPI. Historically, softwood fiber costs have always been higher than hardwood fiber costs, but the year of 2009 was a trend breaker.

Higher costs for Eucalyptus logs, reduced fiber consumption in regions with high softwood fiber costs, and exchange rate adjustments were all factors that transformed the global wood fiber market in 2009, the report stated.

SOURCE: Wood Resources International

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