Kiln-dried walnut prices — averaged across all grades, thicknesses and regions — increased 26% during the last 12 months, including gains of more than $900 per thousand board feet on some items. Many are now wondering if walnut will price itself out of certain markets, or if combined domestic and international demand is high enough to keep buyers interested at current or even higher prices.
Given that some buyers are willingly paying prices well above current published levels to secure future shipments, and walnut exports set new records in each of the five months ending in June, we foresee no slowdown in the near-term.
Like walnut, prices for most widely produced North American hardwood species have fluctuated dramatically over the last 18 months, but not soft maple. Soft maple is more readily available than hard maple and less prone to timber price spikes, which has contributed to its price stability.
Soft maple’s limited international appeal has also kept it from surging in price like red oak and white oak. These are the same reasons why soft maple prices will remain level in the months to come amid good, steady demand from cabinet, wood component and millwork manufacturers.
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