U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled 113 million board feet in January 2013, making it the strongest January on record. Year-on-year shipments were up 3% to 17% to China, Canada, Vietnam, Mexico and Italy — the Top 5 foreign destinations.
In March, exporters reported good demand in Asia and Mexico, as did buyers in those markets. Several Middle Eastern markets were busier. Demand for hardwood lumber also increased in Canada. In much of Europe, however, markets were quiet.
Combined domestic and international demand for North American hardwood lumber expanded faster than supply in March. As one major exporter commented, “More than a few competitors are running out of wood to sell.”
Prices for most items continued to climb, and buyer reactions were varied. Many accepted the increases with little or no resistance, while others negotiated with suppliers to soften the increases. However, some temporarily suspended purchases of items for which prices have rapidly increased in hopes of reductions later on.
Sellers noted increased inquiries for width-sorted, ripped-to-width, and other “value-added” lumber products. Requests for 3/4-inch rough cut lumber were also on the rise.
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