Though many sawmills won’t cut any more Hard Maple until September, kiln-dried supplies have been growing as the spike in May/June production makes its way through kilns. Consequently, Hard Maple prices will plateau over the next 30 days. Upper-grade Hard Maple prices are vulnerable to modest declines as production picks back up in early fall. Meanwhile, growing demand from the cabinet and residential flooring industries will continue to strain supplies of 4/4 #1 Common and 4/4 #2&3A Common Hard Maple.
Production of Soft Maple will expand faster than Hard Maple over the next two months because it is slightly less stain-prone and grows in a wider geographic range. Soft Maple demand from cabinet and component plants will increase, albeit at a slower rate than during the first half of the year, and demand from furniture plants will be fair. Upper-grade Soft Maple prices will level off and then slip a bit in early fall. The common grades won’t be under as much downward price pressure, however, because demand is quite good in the U.S. and Canada and growing in China and Mexico.
With exports to China and Mexico seasonally slower, and many residential flooring plants reaching inventory targets, Red Oak sales are now transitioning from “red hot” to “warm.” Sellers are already catching up on orders for upper-grade Red Oak, which will be the first to soften in price. 4/4 #1 Common and 4/4 #2&3A Common Red Oak prices will also slip a bit by fall. However, we expect declines in kiln-dried Red Oak prices to total just 2 to 3% before prices are firming again. Green Red Oak prices may not decline at all.
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