The hard maple outlook is relatively good. Cabinet plants will be looking to purchase larger volumes in anticipation of additional sales growth in the months ahead. Demand from the residential flooring industry also appears to be picking up. 4/4 hard maple prices will climb in all regions, color selections and grades, but 5/4-8/4 markets won’t strengthen much.
Soft maple supply won’t be quite as thin as hard maple over the next month because its production range is wider. Reports from cabinet and furniture manufacturers indicate that soft maple has captured additional market share in both of these sectors. Soft maple won’t surrender its gains anytime soon, but large price increases during the last two years will keep it from making further inroads against other species. Prices for many soft maple items will rise just a bit more during the next two months before leveling off.
In the U.S., poplar shipments to moulding, millwork and furniture manufacturers will gain additional momentum as homebuilding, remodeling and commercial construction show further growth. Poplar exports reached record levels in 2012—overall and to several large markets—and they’ll keep trending up in the months ahead.