Hardwood Review provides regional hardwood outlooks in its weekly lumber supply report for Jan. 27, 2012

Northern U.S.
Wet weather and mild temperatures hampered logging operations in much of the North, especially the Northeast. Colder temperatures have started to arrive and should allow mills to replenish log decks. Look for better availability in the near term, with prices staying in a tight range for most whitewoods.

Expect a status quo stalemate for the next month or two. Logging conditions will improve, but there is little lumber-side incentive (or available cash) to ramp up log purchasing. Poplar will keep folks busy but not profitable. Slow White Oak and #2&3A Com Red Oak will offset gains in #1/Btr Red Oak.Oak Pricing Rise: Asia, Mexico Buy Up Red, White Species

Upticks in Far Eastern and Mexican purchasing will halt declines in Red Oak and White Oak prices, then nudge up #1/Btr Red Oak prices beginning in late Q1. With weather less likely to threaten log supplies here than in other regions, overproduction could return in the South first, possibly by mid-year.

If U.S. economic activity improves during the next couple of quarters as expected, the scarcity of trucks and truck drivers will become even more problematic for Western distribution yards and end-users, who will face longer lead times and significantly higher delivery costs for Eastern hardwoods.

Eastern Canadian
Canadian mills have been in the same boat as their Northern U.S. competitors as weather has made securing logs difficult. The strength of the loonie against the euro will hamper some export sales of upper-grade Hard Maple, a long-time favorite of European buyers. Look for production to ramp up in Canada as well.



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