Hardwood Fiber Prices Climb Past Softwood

Dec. 2, 2009 - Hardwood fiber costs for the global pulp industry have risen faster than softwood fiber costs in 2009, according to Wood Resources International (WRI).

Over the past 20 years, the Global Softwood Fiber Price Index (SFPI) has typically ranged between US$5-10/odmt higher than the Global Hardwood Fiber Price Index (HFPI). This relationship changed this year because hardwood fiber costs have increased more than softwood costs, WRI said.

The Global Wood Fiber Indices are weighted global average delivered wood fiber prices for the pulp industry in the regions tracked by WRI's publication Wood Resource Quarterly. The regions included in the Indices together account for 85-90% of the world’s woodbased pulp production capacity. The prices are based on the quarterly average prices, and country/regional wood fiber consumption data.

The report notes that the HFPI was up $4.23/odmt, reaching US$99.15/odmt in the 3Q/09 as compared to the 2Q. This was mainly a result of higher wood costs in Brazil, Australia, Russia and Sweden. The global average hardwood fiber price is now over six dollars higher as that of softwood fiber, a historical first, WRI explained.

The SFPI jumped three dollars per odmt in the 3Q to US$93.12/odmt. Much of the increase occurred because the US dollar weakened against all 14 currencies in the countries included in the Index. The biggest increases were seen in Germany, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, WRI said.

The SFPI Index, which predominantly includes countries with natural conifer species in the Northern Hemisphere, and the HFPI Index, which largely consists of wood fiber prices in non-conifer plantation forests, are calculated in nominal US dollars per ovendried metric ton (odmt) of wood fiber, WRI added.

During the past two decades, global wood fiber prices declined during most of the 1990’s and early 2000, and then climbed from 2002 to 2008. Wood costs reached record levels in early 2008, but then fell rapidly for 12 months until the recent increase in early 2009, according to the quarterly report

SOURCE: Wood Resources International LLC

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