Many sawmills have reduced production due to low log supplies, difficult business conditions, or both.
Even so, mills and drying operations continued to churn out more lumber than already saturated markets can absorb. One large concentration yard reportedly had 90% of its kilns turned off due to lack of dry storage.
Many sawmills and concentration yards are now planning to shut down during the week of July 4th, some for the first time ever. A contact at one such yard said, “With a lot of other companies closing for a week or two, we would get buried with lumber if we have our doors open.”
Distribution yard sales of hardwood lumber remain brisk, particularly in the western U.S. and Canada.
“All the distribution yards we sell have good to great business, and none say business is bad,” notes the sales manager for a large sawmill. Cabinet plants reported relatively modest sales gains on the year, but several have begun to increase production or place more orders with dimension plants.
Dimension lumber producers we surveyed were quite busy — particularly those making cabinet parts — and some were even turning away orders because they couldn’t meet short lead times. Sales for residential flooring manufacturers have improved somewhat, but remain well below expectations for this time of year. Overall lumber shipments to the residential flooring industry were flat, at best.
Moulding and millwork plants had fair to good business and reported the strongest demand in California, Florida, New York and New England.
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