Selective Cuttings

Canada ranks second among leading global wood product exporters

January 24, 2018

Canadian wood product exports have been growing year after year since 2010. In 2016, Canada exported $17B of wood products, maintaining its position among the world’s top wood product exporters.

In this post, we compare Canada’s wood product exports with those of other countries, in terms of type, size and significance. We also discuss changes in these rankings since our previous post in 2013.

The table details the top ten global wood product exporters in 2016, indicating their global market share, value (in Canadian dollars), wood product trade balance, percentage of wood products as a share of each country’s total exports, the major type of wood product exports, and the change in percent of each country’s global market share since 2012.
Country Global market share of total wood product exports Value (C$ billion) Wood product trade balance Wood product share of country exports Largest type of wood product exports % change since 2012
China 12.8% 18.1 - 0.64% Panels 47.2%
Canada 12.3% 17.5 + 3.38% Lumber 74.5%
United States 8.4% 12.0 - 0.62% Lumber 51.5%
Germany 7.6% 10.8 - 0.61% Lumber 30.5%
Russia 6% 8.6 + 2.28% Lumber 36.5%
Austria 4.1% 5.9 + 3.06% Lumber 25.0%
Poland 3.9% 5.6 + 2.10% Joinery 59.5%
Indonesia 3.6% 5.1 + 2.68% Panels 48.6%
Sweden 3.5% 5.0 + 2.73% Lumber 15.4%
Finland 2.7% 3.8 + 5.03% Lumber 39.0%

Canada is the second largest exporter of wood products in the world with lumber being its dominant product. Canada’s ranking has not changed since 2012; however, its global wood product market share increased slightly from 10% in 2012 to 12% in 2016.

The countries in the top 10 were generally consistent with our 2012 analysis, but their rankings have shifted.  China continues to be the largest exporter of wood products. The United States (US), Poland and Indonesia jumped up in the ranking due to a rapid increase in their exports value, bumping down Germany and Sweden. Overall, the top 10 exporting countries accounted for 65% of total global wood product exports in 2016.

Although the global rankings for wood product exporters have shifted over recent years, the type of wood product exported from each country has nearly stayed the same. In 2016, lumber was the dominant export product type, except for China and Indonesia that led with panels and Poland, which exported mostly joinery. Germany is the only country on the list that has seen their major exported wood product type change since 2012 (from fibreboard to lumber).

One measure that captures the importance of wood product trade for each country is its share of total exports. At 3.38%, Canada’s export mix has a higher reliance on wood products now than in 2012 (2.2%). Comparatively, Finland (5.03%) has the highest reliance while Germany (0.61%) and the US (0.62%) have the lowest reliance on wood products. About half of the top ten wood product exporters demonstrated relatively stable percentages between 2012 and 2016.

Overall, Canada remains one of the leading wood product exporters. Nonetheless, additional export growth over the medium term could be challenged by anticipated fibre shortages due to pests (e.g. the mountain pine beetle in the West and the spruce budworm in the East), increasing incidences of wildfires, geopolitical uncertainty and volatility in trade.