Hard Maple inventories typically swell in the spring as winter-cut stock is moved through kilns before it can stain. This year, however, frigid weather into the spring gave mills the option of pushing back Hard Maple cuts to take advantage of robust Red Oak markets.
Not only will the wave of Hard Maple production hit markets later than usual, but markets look strong enough to absorb that wave without flinching—particularly cabinet industry demand for #1 Com and flooring industry demand for #2&3A Common.
Since Hard Maple and Soft Maple grow in the same regions and are used interchangeably in some applications, many of the factors that have caused Hard Maple supply and demand to become imbalanced are also at work in Soft Maple markets.
Unlike Hard Maple, however, Soft Maple exports are rising, with shipments up 13% year-on-year through February after a 13% increase in 2013. The outlook is quite good for #1 and #2 Common Soft Maple—which see the broadest use domestically and for export—and fairly good for uppers.
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