Record Export Lumber Shipments and the Effect on Prices

March 18, 2014

In 2013 US hardwood lumber exporters shipped 1.463 billion board feet of lumber. Asia accounted for 61% of all exported volume. When combined with the unfortunate truth that many sawmills closed and their equipment was auctioned off, the result is that as our economy picks up and demand increases, there are only so many sawmills to fill this need. Currently the majority of all hardwood lumber produced is sold the minute it is dry enough to ship.

This information is important because inventories will remain tight for many months to come and prices will continue to increase. The domestic price indexes for green and kiln dried lumber climbed almost $40 per thousand board feet in the month of February alone. This is the largest one-month price increase in at least a year. Manufacturers should be aware that it makes no sense at all to quote prices more than 15-30 days in advance, as most lumber is now being priced when it is ready to ship.

This information is provided by the Weekly Hardwood Review at www.hardwoodreview.com, and they can be reached at 704-543-4408.

You should act immediately to reach out to suppliers to work on long term supply agreements. Also, make sure you work with your end user customers to help make them aware of what is happening in the industry.

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