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Report: Sawtimber prices to be up and down

Forisk Consulting of Athens, Ga., forecasts sawtimber prices for the U.S. South weakening 2.7 percent in 2012 and then strengthening 2.9 percent into 2013.

Key factors include weak expectations for housing starts and low utilization rates at sawmills.

While sawtimber prices can increase temporarily from artificial shortages related to weather and logging capacity, long-term strengthening of sawtimber prices requires sawmill utilization to exceed 76 percent.

For 2012, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are the only states with forecasted sawtimber stumpage prices exceeding $27/ton. Alternately, delivered prices for Douglas-fir and hemlock in Oregon and Washington look to increase 6 percent and 4.9 percent in 2012 thanks to continued exports to China.

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