Through production is slowly increasing, green lumber is still scarce in some areas and wholesalers will generally struggle more to fill orders than to find them over the next two months…a season when lumber is typically available in excess. Still, modest improvements in lumber availability have worked to slow the rate of lumber price increases.
While exports have seasonally slowed, there is simply too much demand relative to available supply for buyer “sit outs” to have a meaningful impact on prices. June export volume was below the all-time record set in May, but it was still the strongest June in history, and few sellers have shown any willingness to buckle on prices over a brief slowdown. China will end the year as the world’s strongest hardwood market, and Europe will continue its slow recovery.
Domestic housing and hardwood demand will grow more slowly in the second half of the year than the first, but fast enough to prevent much build-up in hardwood inventories. Cabinet and millwork producers will be busier than in recent years, though demand will seasonally unwind from summertime highs. Industrial lumber shipments to the energy and railroad industries will be quite strong. From the producers’ perspective, only rain clouds offer much threat to a bright outlook for rest of the year.