North American hardwood exports grew solidly in August following July’s seasonal slowdown. Asian buyers were in the market for larger volumes of lumber, shipments to Europe increased for delivery in early September, and Mexican demand was solid.
Overall business was steady in the Middle East and Africa despite political turmoil. “August export sales have been robust, much better than expected,” said one major U.S. exporter, echoing comments from several others.
In July, many international buyers stayed off the market in hopes of lower prices in late summer. Through the end of August, however, relatively few items had fallen in price and many continue to firm up. Supplies did not increase, as many expected, because wet weather in much of the Eastern U.S. persisted into early August, holding down sawmill production and limiting the usual seasonal acceleration in kiln turns.
Looking back at June 2013—the latest month with available trade data—U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled 124 million board feet, making it the strongest June on record. June shipments were just 3% below the all-time monthly record set in May.
Poplar exports reached a one-month record in June, as shipments surged to Vietnam.
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