Hard maple producers typically build inventories during the fall and winter to sustain them through the spring and summer when warmer weather necessitates lower production.
This year, however, wet weather, logger shortages and relatively high log prices kept sawmills in the Upper Midwest and Appalachian areas from sawing and storing up the extra they could certainly use today with demand improving in the cabinet, flooring and component sectors. Sellers in the Northeast—where winter logging was fairly good—should see increased hard maple sales simply because they’ll have some to sell when others won’t. Prices will continue to climb across all hard maple producing regions over the next two months.
Though prices for certain soft maple items have leveled off, most will continue to rise over the next two months also. Soft maple production isn’t keeping pace with expanding demand from distributors and end-users, particularly cabinet plants.
Cabinet, furniture and component manufacturers will buy more unselected soft maple for use in painted and darkly stained products, which continue to grow in popularity. The widespread practice of color sorting soft maple won’t change and sap/btr will still bring price premiums, but sales of ustock will grow slightly faster than sap/btr.
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