Kiln-dried Cherry prices steadily increased during the first half of 2014, as exports surged, cabinet and component plants bought more, and supplies lagged because mills were focused on Oak and Maple production. Since mid-year, however, Cherry exports have slowed, production has increased, and prices have hardly budged. Cherry usage in high-end cabinets and millwork remains decent, but with Cherry demand stalled in most other markets and more coming through kilns, large price run-ups will not materialize, as some had expected.
With Hickory floors in fashion and the cabinet sector using steady volumes, demand for Hickory lumber will not let up anytime soon. However, increased lumber production in the summer and early fall has changed the Hickory supply picture. In the first half of the year, Hickory exports trailed last year’s pace due to insufficient supplies. As production picked up in July/August, exports pushed back ahead of the 2013 pace. Hickory prices climbed about 30% in the last year, but green 4/4 #1 and #2 Common have recently slid, the first such declines in eight months. The next 30-45 days will bring additional softening in green Hickory prices—and perhaps kiln-dried also—but strong underlying demand will keep declines to less than 2%.
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