Domestic demand for hardwood is weak, report the editors of Hardwood Review. Foreign markets are expanding, so a larger share of U.S. hardwood lumber production is being exported than at any time in history. For now, “exports are driving the bus,” one lumberman said.

With overall supply and demand well-balanced, hardwood lumber prices—which were topsy-turvy in 2009 and Lumber: Weekly Pricing Trends2010—have been leveling off. Prices have even firmed up on some items like Ash and Poplar.

We expect lumber production to gradually increase during the second and third quarters of the year, which could lead to softening prices in the summer if domestic markets don’t improve.

Interestingly, reports from last week’s International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC, mentioned higher attendance and improved sales for several domestic factories.

A handful of manufacturers in other sectors have also noted modest upticks in business. If domestic demand does begin to grow, lumber prices may be firm through summer.

  Lumber: Weekly Pricing TrendsHardwood Publishing offers Hardwood Review, Hardwood Leader, WoodLogics and other services  for lumber buyers and sellers in the wood manufacturing industries.

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