May 2024 Southern Pine Exports Reach 3-Year High

May 2024 Southern Pine Exports

May 2024 exports of Southern Pine lumber (treated and untreated) hit a three-year high with 59.7 Mbf, just shy of the 60.3 Mbf of exports in October 2021, according to May data from the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Services’ Global Agricultural Trade System. It’s only the third time monthly exports have surpassed 50 Mbf since October 2021.

Southern Pine lumber exports, which were up 28% over April and up 31% over May 2023, are running 15% ahead of 2023 YTD.

Softwood imports, meanwhile, were nearly flat over April but down 4.2% over May 2023.

Our international consultants found most of the May 2024 Southern Pine export gains were in the Caribbean, although Mexico, Pakistan, and a few other countries were strong as well.

  • The Caribbean: They believe this is a seasonal trend whereby shipments dipped in the summer and fall of 2023, then picked up again in the spring of 2024. This likely follows construction activity and the lumber yards’ need to restock after low inventories earlier this year. Prices also have softened a bit, which may be boosting export sales, while overall construction activity is rising.
  • Mexico: The increase here is likely the continued pivot away from China as a primary market. Lumber is more easily traded in Mexico and North America thanks to zero tariffs related to the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. This increase could also be tied to steering away from the “conflict” timber debate going on in Asia.
  • Pakistan: The country is facing a timber deficit and logging restrictions, which is increasing the need for imported fiber.


Other highlights from our international consultants include:

  • Mexico remains the largest export market (by volume) of Southern Pine and treated lumber, up 34% YTD with 64.4 Mbf of imports.
    • The Dominican Republic, the No. 2 importer of Southern Pine, is running 25% ahead of the same period last year with 47.3 Mbf.
  • India’s total of SYP imports cooled a little in May but are still running 3% ahead of 2023 YTD at 16.1 Mbf. India’s imports remain almost evenly split between dressed and rough Southern Pine lumber.
  • Exports to China continue to slide, down 59% YTD compared to 2023 YTD with 5.9 Mbf of Southern Pine lumber imports.
  • The following countries in the Caribbean and Central American region have imported more than 1 Mbf through May 2024, outside of Mexico and the Dominican Republic mentioned above:
    • The Leeward-Windward Islands: up 5% YTD with 13.4 Mbf.
    • Belize: up 21% YTD with 2 Mbf.
    • Barbados: up 21% for the year at 4.9 Mbf.
    • The Netherlands Antilles: up 168% with 4.6 Mbf.
    • Trinidad and Tobago: up 2% with 4.4 Mbf.
    • The Cayman Islands: up 61% over the year to 2.9 Mbf.
    • Turks and Caicos: up 25% over the year with 1.6 Mbf.
    • Jamaica: down 3% with 21.5 Mbf.
    • The Bahamas: down 6% with 8.7 Mbf
    • Haiti: down 15% to 2.6 Mbf.


When looking at countries that have imported more than 1 Mbf so far in 2024, here is what our consultants found:

  • Pakistan: continues to rise, up 453% over the year to 6.8 Mbf with 1.6 Mbf of imports in May.
  • Colombia: up 42% over the year with 3.2 Mbf.
  • Canada: trending higher at 55% over 2023 with 12.1 Mbf so far this year.
  • Taiwan: The island nation continues to trend higher, up 42% with 2.9 Mbf YTD.
  • Philippines: The Asian nation hit 1.8 Mbf imported YTD, up 60% over 2023.
  • Egypt: The Northeast African country, while down 4% over the year, has imported 1.5 Mbf so far in 2024.
  • Netherlands: continues to drop, down 31% over the year with 1.7 Mbf.


Panama, Vietnam, and France all joined the 1 Mbf club in May, with 1.6 Mbf, 1.5 Mbf, and 1.2 Mbf, respectively.

SFPA members: Don’t forget to check out the members-only site to get a full breakdown of every country’s import and export numbers for Southern Pine and treated lumber!

*Note: data are expressed in Million Board Feet (Mbf) unless otherwise indicated.