U.S. Southern Pulpwood Study

A five-year forecast identifying new competition for pulpwood, specific pulp mills at risk of closure, and future price changes in the US Southern pulpwood markets


US Southern Pulwood Study

 The study includes:

  • Identification of pulp mills at high risk of closure, detailing level of risk
  • Five-year pulpwood market outlook on demand, supply and pricing
  • Analysis of mill costs and market prospects by product line
  • Assessment of sub-regional demand and supply, including forest inventory modeling
  • Delivered and stumpage price analysis for each sub-region with forecasts for softwood and hardwood pulpwood prices

Watch a presentation about this study and the research behind it!

Understand supply, demand and competitive indicators to determine the competitive standing of US Southern pulp mills and those with highest potential to overcome market challenges.

Major changes occurring in the pulpwood industry pose threats to resource availability and pulp operations in the US South, a market that has seen an overall decline in profit margins since 2011.

Pulpwood prices are at record highs, up 14% for delivered pine since 2011 and up 21% for hardwood. A recovery in residential construction will boost OSB output at the same time that announced large-scale pellet projects will commence operations. On the supply side, forest areas available for thinnings will contract and hardwood resources are still overextended.

In RISI’s analysis, it appears pulpwood demand will expand by as much as 10% over the next five years. This implies pine pulpwood demand is likely to achieve record levels. Consequently, pulpwood prices will step higher and present new challenges for pulp and paper producers, particularly in states where opportunities to expand supply are limited. Meanwhile, on the international front, the US pulp sector will have to contend with a strong US dollar and unprecedented expansion of offshore capacity.

How will mills respond to new competition from wood pellets and resurging OSB output?

Which mills are at the highest risk of closure due to market changes? Which mills are secure?

The US Southern Pulpwood Study analyzes supply, demand and competitive indicators to determine the competitive standing of US Southern pulp mills and ascertains those with the highest potential to overcome market challenges. The study identifies mills that are at high, medium and low risk of closure. It provides in-depth analysis of six sub-regions within the US South with cross sectional analysis of residual chip production, OSB and bioenergy trade.

Using a pulpwood price analysis, the study covers trends and relative pricing within each sub-region. A five-year outlook, the US Southern Pulpwood Study also models supply and demand for forest inventory and forecasts pulpwood prices.

Who will benefit from this service?

Pulp Producers

  • Determine mill vulnerability due to six criteria, including market prospects and cost position
  • Quantify new competition for wood fiber from OSB and wood pellets
  • Benchmark wood costs to other Southern and US producing regions
  • Prepare for expected changes in pulpwood prices and availability

Producers of Pellets and OSB

  • Evaluate market risk associated with expanding production and new projects
  • Project production costs and form wood procurement strategies
  • Understand trends in wood fiber prices for local wood fiber markets

TIMOs/REITs

  • Assess the wood-paying capability of individual mills
  • Stay abreast of potential mill closures and planned start-ups
  • Identify areas with highest expected demand and stumpage prices
  • Rationalize forest management policy and final harvest objectives

Sub-Regions Covered

  • Appalachia: Kentucky, Tennessee, and western North Carolina and Virginia
  • Atlantic North: Piedmont and coastal North Carolina and eastern Virginia
  • Atlantic South: Piedmont and coastal South Carolina and Georgia, and northeastern Florida
  • Inland Central: Northwestern South Carolina and Georgia and northern Alabama and Mississippi
  • Coastal Gulf: Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and Mississippi, and coastal Louisiana
  • Western Gulf: Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and Texas, and interior Louisiana
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