Sales activity continued to improve in nearly every part of the hardwood industry. On the production side, sawmills are much busier now than in the last few years. Most mills have enough logs to operate normal hours, though “normal” for many is now 35 to 40 hours per week compared to 40 to 45 in the past.
Overall production of green lumber is not meeting the demand. Green lumber prices continue to increase and some worry that concentration yards will find profits elusive if kiln-dried prices do not start to catch up. Our Kiln Dried Index is now 4.7% higher than one year ago while our Green Index is up 8.0%.
Concentration yards reported strong business. Distribution yards enjoyed improved sales, including several on the West Coast. Many yards are concerned that the new tariff on Chinese plywood will hurt their businesses. Flooring plants continued to buy large volumes of lumber, with some having to purchase kiln dried lumber due to slow kiln turns. Prices for both 2-¼” and 3-¼” strip flooring have risen significantly since December 1st.
The latest statistics from the U.S. International Trade Commission show January 2013 hardwood lumber exports of 113 million board feet, 4.4% higher than January 2012 and the highest January on record.
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