While hardwood lumber sales volumes declined last week for a few companies—usually due to low log or lumber supplies—most sellers reported higher year-to-date sales and better margins than last year.
Hardwood sawmills in most regions said log supplies remained tight, and some mills reported sawing fewer hours than they would like. In general, however, lumber production is slowly increasing and green lumber is a bit more available. Wholesalers often found it difficult to source kiln-dried lumber to fill orders, and many we surveyed expect supply to be tight for the rest of the year.
Concentration yards reported increased receipts of green lumber, though their kiln-dried inventories were still relatively low. Distribution yards saw more sales activity last week. Yards from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast noted higher demand for “rustic” items. Flooring industry demand for lumber was still high and strip flooring sales were strong. Some flooring plants have bought more kiln-dried lumber to ensure continued operation.
One sawmill owner said that, at current #2&3A common red oak prices, it was more attractive to produce industrial items. Demand for pallet cants, cut stock and crane mats was strong and steady; enough so that another mill said it was planning to start producing crane mats. Tie prices were firm, and buyers who attempted to reduce their prices found that few ties were available.
Demand from upholstered furniture plants continued to be strong, keeping prices for frame stock firm. Export shipments were stronger. Chinese buyers who reduced ordering in July and early August are back in the market and finding supply tight.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.