The outlook for cherry is somewhat improved, buoyed by some long-awaited sales of upper grades, modest growth in common-grade use in cabinet door production, and a doubling of cherry exports to China in 2012.
Sales of #1 and #2 com cherry will nudge up over the next two months, pulling prices slightly higher, and there is every reason to believe Chinese demand will keep expanding. That said, we don’t foresee cherry becoming “hot” anytime soon. Competition for upper-grade orders remains intense, and fashion isn’t moving in cherry’s direction except in China.
Red oak will be a strong performer over the next two months. Monthly red oak exports were at 8-year highs during the last few months of 2012, and shipments to China after its New Year will be limited more by supply than demand. Unfinished strip flooring manufacturers expect decent sales gains this year, and they will buy as much red oak as they can find throughout the winter and probably the spring. Red oak’s share of cabinet, moulding and millwork markets is holding—albeit at relatively low levels—so rising demand for these products will also help red oak sales.
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