Optimism remains among Canada’s forest industry despite the punitive duties imposed by the U.S., and suggestions by the U.S. lumber industry to increase softwood lumber duties to 45 per cent.
Industry leaders are reporting improved fourth-quarter earnings in 2002, which suggests 2003 will be a better year for the forest industry. Analysts predict a turnaround by 2004.
The Canadian forest industry earned about $475 million in 2002, which translates into a return on investment of about four per cent. Analysts predict Canadian shipments will increase by about two per cent this year, but predict 2004 will be better.
Newsprint producers raised prices in the fourth quarter of 2002 by $35 US a tonne, and are planning another increase of $50 by March 1, which has also stirred optimism.