Editor's Note to the Reader
As you go through the Production, Consumption and Trade Annual of the Wood Products: International Trade and Foreign Markets circular, you may notice several changes. As a result of changes in forest products reporting requirements for FAS overseas Posts, the Division has dropped and added many new tables in the production of this edition of the circular.
First, we have dropped the tables covering supply and demand for particleboard, hardboard and medium density fiberboard. Second, country coverage of supply and demand parameters for the remaining tables has been significantly reduced. The Division, however, will continue to publish U.S. export trends for these commodities in its quarterly and annual circulars. Third, reporting on temperate and tropical hardwood veneer and on temperate and tropical hardwood plywood for 1997 - 1999 has been combined for many countries. Starting next year, there will be one table each for hardwood veneer and hardwood plywood.
Many new features have also been added. The Division for the first time is reporting current year (1999 for this issue) supply and demand forecasts. Previously, all the Division's published supply and demand estimates had been historic. Another improvement is more reliable supply and demand estimates for China and Russia. In the past, official reporting by both countries was quite erratic and conjectural, leading the Division in many cases to omit or repeatedly change estimates. Rather than repeat questionable data, Chinese and Russian production and consumption estimates prior to 1997 have been deleted, while estimates for 1997 through 1999 for softwood logs, lumber and plywood and for hardwood logs, lumber and plywood are available for the first time for both countries.
The second new feature is an entirely new set of Strategic Indicator Tables that analyze the demand drivers behind world consumption of solid wood products. More often than not, it is changes in consumer preferences and not product availability and price alone that influence market strength. Bridging that gap in commodity analysis, the Division is now providing estimates for housing and furniture demand collected by FAS Posts overseas. We plan to update and expand these Strategic Indicator Tables in future editions of the Production, Consumption and Trade Annual circular. We would caution, however, that these data are collected from many different sources overseas, with inherent differences for reliability and consistency.
Readers' comments on these changes or any other aspect of the Division's publications are always welcome. Readers can telephone the Division at (202) 720-0638, send e-mail to email@example.com, or write the Division at the following address: Forest & Fishery Products Division, Foreign Agricultural Service, Mail Stop 1047, Room 4647-South, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-1047.
Roseanne Freese, Agricultural
Forest and Fishery Products Division, Foreign Agricultural Service