Economist predicts forestry growth

TD is predicting a significant increase in lumber prices by 2013, and has praised the B.C. government for opening up new markets to counteract the slump in the U.S. housing market.

TD is predicting a significant increase in lumber prices by 2013, and has praised the B.C. government for opening up new markets to counteract the slump in the U.S. housing market.

“The B.C. industry and government have been very proactive in marketing wood for use in construction in China,” said Leslie Preston, an economist at the TD banking group.

“China now imports more lumber from B.C. than from the United States.”

Preston predicted that by late 2013, improved demand from the U.S. will combine with growing demand from China “to produce a significant cyclical upswing in demand for lumber.”

The economist added that demand from China is conservatively predicted to grow by 10 per cent each year until 2015.

In May and June, the value of B.C. exports to China was greater than to the U.S.

Shipments to China in May were more than $122 million, and in June, they reached more than $130 million.

Said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation: “This is extremely encouraging news. The TD report validates the work we have been doing in this province over the last decade.

“Through our jobs plan, we are going to take the lessons learned in the success of lumber trade with China, and apply it to other key sectors such as mining, natural gas, international education, tourism, agri-foods and technology. Our goal is to develop the environment and conditions that will create and protect jobs in B.C.”

More than 55,000 people are employed by B.C.’s softwood lumber industry, which contributes more than $7.3 billion to the province’s gross domestic product.