Contacts are still talking about the impacts of the terrible winter weather on the hardwood industry. Deep snow and biting cold slowed logging and hurt sawmill production. One Indiana mill reported 145” of snow this winter; the normal is 40”.
Log prices have been escalating and some mills noted that they were tight on logs. Overall, log supply appeared to fair, with only a few mills indicating recent losses in production time. Lumber pricing remained steady to firmer, and only a few sellers reported push-back on prices. Most sellers had little kiln dried inventory, yet margins were getting compressed due to higher log and green lumber costs.
Concentration yards said the supply of green lumber was still tight and most had little kiln dried lumber in inventory. Most expect some resistance to prices even if they haven’t seen it yet. Better weather bolstered distribution yard sales, while good demand for #1 and #2 Common strip kept flooring sales steady.
Exports of 125 million board feet in February were the strongest ever recorded for a February, and year-to-date totals were up 15% from last year. Demand for crossties remained very good, and both pallet cants and cut stock were in short supply.