Delivered wood fiber prices in the South remained relatively stable in the 4Q2011 (see Figure 1). As the trendlines show, much of the volatility the market experienced beginning in 2008 and running through 3Q2010 has been dampened.
In 4Q2011, total pine fiber prices, including pine pulpwood, primary chips and secondary chips, increased by 2 percent over 3Q's level. The 4Q weighted average price for total pine fiber was $35.36/ton. The modest increase was evenly distributed over price components, including a $0.26/ton increase in wood fiber cost and a $0.05/ton increase in freight costs. Year over year, prices were down just slightly; during the year, wood fiber prices decreased and freight costs increased. This is a pattern we saw across classes of wood raw materials in the 4Q2011 data.
Delivered total hardwood fiber prices were flat, quarter over quarter. The 4Q weighted average price was $42.35/ton, just $0.01/ton higher than 3Q prices. Compared to 4Q2010, prices were down $0.19/ton. Again, while wood fiber costs dropped year over year, the freight cost component increased.
Going forward, we foresee no significant events that should lead to increased volatility. As a result, we expect prices to increase only slightly during 2012, mostly due to increased diesel costs.
By wood fiber do you mean a combination of sawtimber and pulpwood and fuelwood?
If so, much depends on product mix.
If we are talking only pulpwood, the prices look unbelievably high for hardwood.
This category includes the raw materials typically used by pulp and paper mills: pulpwood, primary chips and secondary chips.
I concur with the comment regarding hardwood pulpwood - I have had the impression that softwood pulpwood is more expensive than hardwood for some time now which is also reflected in the stumpage.