Demand trends for individual hardwood species have been a mixed bag in October. Ash markets continue to be characterized by low supply, fair demand, and relatively few price movements. Slight easing in demand along with higher summer and fall production have Cherry inventories growing for some suppliers.
Hard Maple and Soft Maple sales have been sluggish to kitchen cabinet and flooring plants. Despite improved exports, gaps between supply and demand for most KD Red Oak items have not fully closed, and prices continue to soften across a range of grades and thicknesses.
Most White Oak producers have enough orders for FAS/1F but some #1 Common available for sale. Sawmills, end-users and exporters almost unanimously report solid markets for Poplar. Poplar production has crept up, however, causing prices to soften in some areas.
Hardwood Publishing recently released its updated Leading Hardwood Demand Indicator (LHDI), a forecast of future demand for U.S. hardwood lumber based on residential and commercial construction, import/export trends, inflation levels, and job markets.
The LHDI declines from 121.9 in October to 120.5 in November (Jan 2013=100) due to slowing U.S. residential and non-residential construction, and expectations of weaker exports to Europe. Seasonal slowing in most domestic and export markets then drops the LHDI to 109.4 in December, in line with last year’s Nov-to-Dec drop (from 120.3 to 106.7).
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