The wood manufacturing industry outlook remains optimistic, though there are warning signs to watch in both the near and long terms, and domestic and international markets.
Growth in U.S. housing construction has been stalled for two years and we are entering the slowest period of the year. Existing home sales have trailed last year’s levels every month this year, and the reported August jump in new home sales looks too good to be true.
Several world economies appear on the brink again…including much of Europe.
The Euro-zone appears to be falling back into recession and German GDP is likely to shrink for the second successive quarter. The UK’s Centre for Economics and Business Research said recently that the country’s housing market is now at a “turning point” and that the housing price increases of this year would give way to a decline in 2015.
China is still forecasting 7.5% growth, but many experts suspect this is illusionary, and Japan’s growth has slowed.
On the positive side, the export slump was mostly worked out by August, with red oak, white oak, alder, ash, the maples and walnut all shipping at higher volumes than in July. Prices are still searching for a firm bottom, however, as much of the renewed interest is from buyers still expecting deep discounts.
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