FAO publishes global pellet statistics for 2014

By Erin Voegele | December 30, 2015

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations recently published updated data on the global wood products industry that shows wood pellet production set a new record in 2014.

According to the report, wood pellet production grew by approximately 17 percent in 2014, reaching 26 million metric tons, up from 23 million metric tons in 2013. The growth was driven primarily by increasing consumption in Europe.

The report indicates that approximately 15 million metric tons were traded internationally. Europe accounted for 61 percent of pellet consumption, or 16 million metric tons, and 79 percent of consumption. North America accounted for 33 percent of consumption, or 8.8 million metric tons, and 13 percent of consumption. According to the FAO, trade in pellets from North America to Europe, mainly the U.K., more than doubled when compared to 2013.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region produced 5 percent of the world’s pellets in 2014, or 1.4 million metric tons. Lain America, Caribbean and Africa produced a combined 1 percent of the world’s pellets, or 100,000 metric tons.

The report notes that production and consumption of wood pellets in Asia more than doubled in 2014. The Republic of Korea became the world’s fourth largest wood pellet importer, driving up wood pellet production in the region, particularly in Vietnam, China and Thailand.

The U.S. was the top pellet producing nation in 2014, with 6.9 million metric tons. Germany, Canada, Sweden and Latvia rounded out the top five pellet production countries, with respective production levels of 2.1 million metric tons, 1.9 million metric tons, 1.6 million metric tons and 1.3 million metric tons.

According to the report, the U.S. Canada and Latvia are also the largest pellet exporters, joined by the Russian Federation and Portugal. Together, these five countries exported 9 million metric tons, or 58 percent of global exports, in 2014.

The top pellet consumers in 2014 were the U.K., U.S., Denmark, Italy and Sweden. Total consumption in these countries amounted to 14 million metric tons, or 55 percent of total global consumption.

The largest pellet importers include the U.K., Denmark, Italy, Republic of Korea and Belgium. Together, these five countries imported 11 million metric tons of wood pellets, up 29 percent from 2013, and accounting for 79 percent of global imports. U.K. imports increased by 40 percent, from 3.4 million metric tons to 4.8 million metric tons. Imports to Korea increased from 500,000 metric tons to 1.8 million metric tons.

A full copy of the report, titled “2014 Global Forest Products Facts and Figures,” can be downloaded from the FAO website