Review of wood-based panel sector in United States and Canada
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Structural and nonstructural panels have been the fastest growing sector among wood products for the past two decades. The recent spate of plant construction and drop in product prices indicate slower growth and consolidation in the next 2 years. Growth in demand is unlikely to catch up with projected capacities until the next century, unless attrition of some existing capacity reduces industry growth. Among structural panels, costs of production are lowest for oriented strandboard, but there is a wide range among plants. Plywood costs are lowest in the U.S. South and highest in the West. Thus, the contraction of western plywood is likely to continue. Overcapacity also looms for nonstructural panels (particleboard and medium density fiberboard), but engineered structural wood products show opportunities for growth.
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