Forest products back on the right track: industry

The Alberta Forest Products Association is viewing the first-quarter performance of its members from a glass-half-full perspective. The association, which represents lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in the province, reported on Tuesday that the value of forest products manufactured here from January to March was approximately $545 million.

The Alberta Forest Products Association is viewing the first-quarter performance of its members from a glass-half-full perspective.

The association, which represents lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in the province, reported on Tuesday that the value of forest products manufactured here from January to March was approximately $545 million.

That figure was down $31 million from the same period in 2011, but a roughly $61-million increase over the fourth quarter of 2011.

“It looks like we are back on the right track in terms of production and prices,” said AFPA president and CEO Brady Whittaker. “The stronger lumber and panel prices of the first quarter have translated into very positive growth. It’s a testament to the good work that the industry and government have done to develop markets in Asia.” Whittaker added that stronger prices during the months of May and June should translate into good results for the current quarter.

The association reported that its members produced $188 million worth of lumber in the first quarter, with this figure including secondary manufacturing. The number was down $4 million from a year ago, but up $19 million from the final quarter of 2011.

Panelboard operators added $74 million worth of product, which was up $5 million from the first quarter of 2011 and an improvement of $12 million over the fourth quarter of last year.

In the case of pulp and paper, the first-quarter value was $283 million, down $32 million from the same period in 2011 but $30 million higher than the preceding quarter.