Evidence of Forestry's Recovery Buoys Bell
By 250 News
Monday, January 25, 2010 11:04 AM
Prince George, B.C.- Minister of Forests and Range ,Pat Bell, says there are signs forestry is on the road to recovery. He says the latest commodity markets show lumber at an averaged price of $274 dollars per thousand board feet, “That is an 18 month high. I am hearing that some producers have low inventories and have indicated some concerns about being able to fill their orders.” Bell says producers are telling him they shipped more lumber in the first week of January 2010 than in the entire month of January 2009.
Bell says the November exports of lumber to China continued the upward trend, and he fully expects the annual exports to China will exceed 1.6 billion board feet, up from 729 million board feet in 2009 and from 329 million board feet shipped in 2008.
Still, that hasn’t prevented the sting of job cuts within his own Ministry. “We have over 3,600 staff, all together we are looking at about 45 positions province wide, a good chunk of those are staff in Victoria. There are small numbers in different regions around the Province” In the Prince George area, two staff have been cut, a further 6 or so in Kamloops have lost their jobs.
“We are confident we can maintain our responsibilities. It is important to note that the volume that we have cut over the last few years has decreased from 70 million cubic meters to under 50 million cubic meters, it’s the responsible thing to do to look at how we can increase efficiencies within the ministry.”
Bell is not factoring the U.S. housing market situation in his recovery predictions, instead, he is looking to the strength of the growth in exports to China “To go last year from 700 million board feet to this year just under 1.7 billion board feet, that incremental billion board foot climb in the Chinese market is going to account for an additional 10% of the total cut, or about four sawmills operating in the province and that is the incremental portion. I continue to be optimistic about China, I don’t know if we will put on another billion board feet this year, but if we did, that would have a meaningful impact on prices and viability of our operations.”
Copy of this from Opinion 250 courtesy of:
Royal LePage Prince George