Buyers and sellers expect kiln-dried 4/4 FAS/1F and #1 Common red oak prices to fall a total of 15% during the current “adjustment period,” meaning declines of $200-300 from spring peaks. While declines probably won’t be that large, prices will keep sliding over the next 60 days. By October, supply will be back in line with demand, which will still be quite good.
During the last two years, white oak log and lumber shipments to almost every market have been limited much more by supply than demand. Pressure on white oak supplies has come from several directions, including barrel stave manufacturers, industrial markets, distribution yards, and buyers in Asia and Europe.
Increased lumber production this year and seasonally slower exports of late, however, appear to have narrowed the gaps between supply and demand for several white oak items. Monthly average white oak exports from March-May were at the highest levels in nine years, one indicator of loosening supplies.
Poplar demand has moved broadly higher this year, with exports on a record pace and sales strong to domestic distributors and end-users. For a time, it almost seemed that poplar production would never catch demand, but that is starting to happen. As such, kiln-dried poplar prices won’t move much, if at all, from current levels over the next 60 days.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.