Pulp, paper and lumber… They’re the big three of the forestry sector on the BC coast, and they saw a bumpy end to 2014.
Western Forest Products announced temporary and permanent sawmill closures and Catalyst has suspended one of its paper lines.
Industry analysts see a generally positive year ahead, but Kevin Mason of Equity Research Associates says shifts in how paper is used will continue to be a challenge for companies like Catalyst and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper (shown above, image via Paper Excellence Canada).
It’s a dip in Chinese demand that Mason sees as one of the reasons for WFP’s decisions late last year, and he’s forecasting a rebound as that demand goes back up and US housing construction continues to rebound.
The pulp industry fared better and Mason says that’s likely to continue, even though Harmac and HSPP will have to fight Russia for a share of the Chinese market.
Mason says the Chinese and US markets are the main drivers of the fortunes for pulp and lumber, a lower dollar will keep Canadian products competitive