On Thursday (4-15-21), the Canadian Dollar (aka Loonie) edged lower against its U.S. counterpart (USD), pulling back from an earlier 3-week high set on March 22 as domestic data showed a bigger than anticipated drop in Canadian factory sales. while Canadian investors weighted in on newly added restriction on the economy to battle the ongoing third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Quesnel Investment Corporation (QIC) has announced that it has sold the mill operation assets of the bankrupt C&C Wood Products Company, which they bought in 2020, to Kandola Forest Products (KFP) a Williams Lake forestry company. QCI says it intends to continue to operate the logging portion (Westside Logging) of the business separately.
Oregon State University researchers say they have discovered a new way to predict the future price of logs using readily available information. Jeff Reimer, a professor of applied economics at Oregon State said, “Log prices are really variable. That makes this a difficult business, whether you are a land manager, mill owner, timberland investor or, as we are seeing now, a home builder.”
The Northern Spotted Owl, which has been listed as a “threatened” species (not endangered) since 1990 under the Endangered Species Act, finds itself back in court, the subject of several lawsuits filed against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) by both preservationist groups and timber industry interest, over the proposed development concerning critical habitat acreage designed for the Owl’s protection.
A deeper dive into the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) nonfarm payroll employment report, with further analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders, reveals that 49 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced an increase jobs in March 2021. Alaska was the only state to shed employment and that was just 200 jobs.
The University of Michigan released today (4-16-21) its preliminary Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) for April. Month-over-month the ICS rose 1.9% from 84.9% in March to 86.5% in April. When compared to April 2020, the ICS increased 20.5% or 71.8% to 86.5%.
Astara Capital Partners, LLC (“Astara”) announced on Thursday (4-15-21), that it has acquired a majority stake in Cross City Lumber (“CCL”). Based in Cross City, Florida, CCL is a Southern Pine sawmill that produces specialty and dimensional grades of lumber. Astara leveraged its network of sawmill executives to source the opportunity and to underwrite a series of capital projects that will substantially increase the capacity of CCL and significantly reduce its breakeven point.
The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that privately‐owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1,739,000. This is 19.4% above the revised February estimate of 1,457,000 and is 37.0% above the March 2020 rate. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 1,238,000; and this is 15.3% above the revised February figure of 1,074,000.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) are reporting that their Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) dropped to 7.8 months in March, according to an ABC member survey conducted from March 22 to April 5 — a decrease of 0.4 months from both the February 2021 and March 2020 readings. ABC’s Construction Confidence Index readings for sales, profit margins and staffing levels increased in March.
EACOM Timber Corporation, a major Eastern Canadian wood products company, which owns and operates seven sawmills, a remanufacturing facility, and an engineered I-joist plant, today announced it was investing $8.9M to equip its Elk Lake sawmill with a new, state-of-the art, continuous dry kiln (CDK). The CDK kiln is expected to be fully operational by early fall and will allow for continuous drying of lumber, reducing production bottlenecks and energy consumption.