Canada’s Forestry Sector: The Opportunity and the Uncertainty

The Conference Board of Canada, January 25, 2017
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Canada’s forestry sector has fared well in the current economic environment, but the industry is also facing a rising tide of uncertainty.

Wood products is one of the manufacturing segments that continues to fare well in the current economic environment, thanks to rising U.S. demand, a low dollar and favourable access to the U.S. market. However, with no new Softwood Lumber Agreement in sight and U.S. protectionist sentiment on the rise following the election of Donald Trump, it is increasingly likely that Canadian producers will face trade restrictions on lumber in the coming year.

Furthermore, the paper products industry faces decreasing demand for printed material at the same time as new pulp producers enter the global markets.

In an uncertain business environment for a key Canadian industry, join Robert Meyer-Robinson for a five-year outlook for the Canadian wood and paper product industries. Robert will discuss the major indicators for the industry, including: production, employment, prices, revenue, cost, profitability and profit margin.

Webinar Highlights

During this 60-minute webinar, Robert will focus on the key issues that the industry is facing in 2017, including:

  • Export outlook — A weak Canadian dollar and a healthy U.S. demand are supporting demand for Canadian wood and paper products. However, the market for wood products in China—which has been a strong driver of growth in recent years— is down because of a softening Chinese economy and rising competitive pressures from Russian and other European exporters.
  • Industry capacity— The wood products industry is already operating at record capacity. Without investment in new capacity, the industry will be severely challenged to boost production, curtailing growth potential in the medium and long terms.
  • U.S. trade restrictions—Our forecast assumes that Canadian softwood lumber exporters will face duties of around 25 per cent by the second quarter of 2017. Domestic producers are increasingly looking to invest in mills on the U.S. side of the border to maintain access to the market.
  • Labour shortages – more than half of the wood products industry contractor workforce is expected to retire within the next 10 years.

About Robert

Photo of Robert Meyer-RobinsonRobert Meyer-Robinson joined The Conference Board of Canada in 2015 as an Economist within the Industrial Economic Trends group. In this role, Robert is responsible for conducting regular research on several industries across the Canadian economy, and contributes to industrial outlook analysis. Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in economics and German from Queen’s University, and a Master’s degree in economics from Carleton University.

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