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Indicator: Exports of forest products

After six consecutive years of growth, Canada’s total forest product exports declined 13.8% in 2019 to $33.2 billion because of lower prices and reduced production for many forest products.

  • Softwood lumber exports fell the most ($2.2 billion) because of production curtailments in British Columbia and a lower average price of lumber.
  • Wood pulp exports had the second-largest decline ($1.7 billion) because of low pulp prices.

By value, Canada is the fourth-largest forest product exporter in the world, behind China, the United States, and Germany. Canada is the leading exporter of softwood lumber, exporting US$1.8 billion more than Russia, the second-largest exporting country, in 2019.

Exports of Canadian forest products, 2009 to 2019

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Graph summary

This graph shows the value of forest product exports in billions of dollars for each year from 2009 to 2019 in total and for six product categories: softwood lumber, newsprint, printing and writing paper, structural wood panels, wood pulp and other forest products.

Overall, forest product exports increased from $23.6 billion in 2009, to $38.6 billion in 2018, then declined 14% in 2019, to $33.2 billion.

Softwood lumber exports increased from $3.8 billion in 2009, to $10.3 billion in 2018, and then shrank 22% in 2019, to $8 billion.

Exports of newsprint declined from $2.7 billion in 2009, to $1.9 billion in 2019.

Exports of printing and writing paper declined from $3.6 billion in 2009, to $2.4 billion in 2019.

Exports of structural panels increased from $0.8 billion in 2009, to $2.8 billion in 2018, but declined 29% in 2019, to $2.0 billion.

Exports of wood pulp increased from $5.3 billion in 2009, to $9.7 billion in 2018, but declined 18% in 2019, to $8.0 billion.

Exports of all other forest products increased from $7.4 billion in 2009 to $11.1 billion in 2018, then declined 2% to $10.9 billion in 2019.

Graph data
Table showing the export value, in billions of 2012 dollars, of: softwood lumber, newsprint, printing and writing paper, structural wood panels, wood pulp and other forest products for each year from 2009 to 2019.
Year Softwood lumber Newsprint Printing and writing paper Structural wood panels Wood pulp Other forest products
2009 3.8 2.7 3.6 0.8 5.3 7.4
2010 4.8 2.7 2.8 0.9 7.3 7.4
2011 5.2 2.8 2.6 0.8 7.5 7.5
2012 5.7 2.3 2.4 1.1 6.8 6.9
2013 7.4 2.4 2.5 1.5 7.0 7.7
2014 8.3 2.6 2.5 1.4 7.5 8.6
2015 8.5 2.3 2.6 1.6 8.0 9.8
2016 10.0 2.2 2.2 2.2 7.6 10.3
2017 10.4 2.0 2.1 2.5 8.3 10.7
2018 10.3 2.3 2.4 2.8 9.7 11.1
2019 8.0 1.9 2.4 2.0 8.0 10.9

Why is this indicator important?

  • As one of the largest forest product exporters, Canada is a key supplier to countries around the world.
  • Canada has an abundant and renewable supply of wood that is sustainably managed. By exporting forest products, the Canadian forest industry meets the needs of global consumers while making a substantial contribution to Canada’s economy and balance of trade.

What is the outlook?

  • While some improvements were expected in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftershock will likely have a negative impact on the trade of most forest products. The speed at which Canada’s main markets recover, particularly the United States and China, will determine how fast exports recover.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information
  • Statistics Canada. Merchandise trade data (special extraction, March 3, 2020).
    • Total all forest products includes only HS Codes 44, 47, and 48.
  • IHS Connect. Global Trade Atlas (extracted March 10, 2020).
    • Forest Products includes only HS Codes 44, 47, and 48.
    • Softwood Lumber includes only HS Codes 440710, 440711, 440712, and 440719.
    • Global value comparisons are on a United States dollar basis.
 

Table of contents — The State of Canada's Forests Report

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