Increased Demand for Red Oak, Poplar; White Oak Slows

By Andy Johnson | Posted: 03/29/2013 12:00PM

 

The red oak outlook is quite good. Flooring plant demand will remain unmet through at least mid-year, helping drive additional price increases not only on 4/4 #2&3A common red oak, but also green and KD 4/4 #1 common. Hardwood ReviewHardwood Publishing offers Hardwood Review, Hardwood Leader, WoodLogics and other services  for lumber buyers and sellers in the wood manufacturing industries

Further gains in residential and commercial construction and remodeling will bolster demand for red oak from cabinet, stair and architectural millwork producers as well. U.S. red oak exports, which reached a 102-month high in January on record-setting shipments to China, will remain brisk, particularly of 4/4 #1/Btr.

Poplar markets also look favorable. Strong demand from domestic moulding and millwork producers, furniture manufacturers and distribution yards — combined with robust exports to the Far East and Mexico — will keep poplar supplies thin and prices firm. Poplar exports set an annual record in 2012 and then another record for the month of January. Look for more records to fall throughout the year.

Europe’s economic outlook has taken a turn for the worse in the last month, and with it, our outlook for white oak. Italian elections failed to produce a governing majority, while the European Commission simultaneously lowered its 2013 GDP growth forecasts and raised its unemployment forecasts for most countries. Since large volumes of white oak ship both to Europe and to Asian manufacturers of goods for Europe, we now expect shipments of most white oak items to slow to these regions over the next two months.

 

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