Mild, wet weather continues to hamper logging in many areas of the U.S. and Canada. A West Virginia sawmill owner commenting on the weather said, “You are either playing in the mud or not playing at all.” Most mills reported only two to three-week supplies of logs. While mills frequently mentioned concerns about running out of logs, they were also trying to limit purchases of species that are unprofitable to saw.
Domestic lumber sales remained slow, as buyers were reluctant to build inventories. Exports to the Far East were somewhat stronger, however, as Chinese buyers placed more orders for delivery after Chinese New Year. Sawmills and concentration yards reported shrinking kiln-dried lumber inventories. Supplies of Soft Maple and Poplar were tight, while supply and demand for most others species were fairly balanced, though some Red Oak items remained abundant. Concentration yards reported slower green lumber receipts, but most found what they needed. One yard manager anticipated he would reload the yard once logging conditions improve.
Although 2012 has started rather slowly for hardwood producers and secondary wood products manufacturers, many are anticipating improved business as the year goes on. One wholesaler said, “I think lumbermen are guardedly optimistic, with the emphasis on the word ‘guardedly.’”
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.