Over the past year—a large portion of which was impacted by the coronavirus—much discussion in the wood products industry has centred on access to employees. While many wood products prices soared to new highs amid solid housing starts and strong residential improvement spending, producers were challenged to meet demand from builders and DIYers. During this period of high demand and high prices for finished goods, timber prices and production levels were largely unaffected. Of course, 2020 was not just the year of the pandemic: it also saw an unprecedented number of hurricanes in the South, record fires in the West, and social unrest nationwide. What a year!
Here we go again. Lumber prices have hit a cyclical high and the financial press has generated a raft of […]
Lumber and panel prices have rocketed higher in the third quarter of 2020, driven by a combination of supply- and demand-side factors. Mills made dramatic reductions to production schedules in the second quarter in anticipation of sharply lower demand as states instituted shelter-in-place orders and unemployment surged.
IS YOUR ORGANIZATION READY FOR THE COMING BUILDING REVOLUTION?
The American building community of developers, architects, engineers, contractors and building construction firms are currently facing a multitude of challenges that require urgent attention. The scale and scope of these challenges will force change at a revolutionary rather than an evolutionary pace. Marginal improvements and refinements aren’t going to cut it any longer, since many of the current challenges facing the sector will almost certainly continue to get worse rather than improve. Moreover, although this article mainly focuses on the domestic front, these challenges are by no means confined to the United States. In fact, many of them are more pressing abroad, in both advanced and emerging economies.
Are you ready for the revolution?
FEA has revised historical particleboard trade volumes for the US and Canada to separate value-added product, primarily thermally fused laminate (TFL), from raw particleboard totals. Until now, we have presented both raw and value-added product as particleboard trade volumes in our historical data and forecasts. Separating the two will improve our analysis of the particleboard market and allow us to examine the TFL market on its own.
We will present these revised numbers beginning with our January 2019 monthly and Q1 2019 quarterly forecasts.
In my previous Spotlight, I reviewed the challenges facing the Federal Reserve (Fed) over the next few years. The primary goal for the Federal Reserve is to maintain a healthy financial system that allows for sustainable trend economic growth with moderate inflation (the goal is 2% or less for the price deflator for consumer expenditures less food and energy).
We have received a slew of media inquires in the past week from reporters who were pushing the following storylines:
1. Donald Trump’s tariffs on lumber have caused prices to surge from about $300 per thousand board feet (MBF) to more than $600 per MBF.
2. Surging building materials prices pose a potentially mortal threat to the US housing recovery.
Our short responses to these storylines are as follows 1) that ain’t necessarily so, and 2) that’s hogwash.
There are several different ways to calculate consumption. Some calculate consumption as shipments plus imports minus exports. Others look at production plus imports minus exports. However, neither of these methods takes inventory swings into account.
The rate of housing removals is an often overlooked, but surprisingly important component of housing demand. It is often overlooked because quality data on home removals are scarce to nonexistent. It is important because removals account for about 20% of the demand for housing over the course of a housing cycle. Only net household formation accounts for a bigger share of underlying demand for housing.
The purpose of this spotlight is to flag one of the potential spoilers for the housing recovery over the next few years: above trend economic growth that fuels an escalation in the inflation and interest rates. We seem to have arrived at an inflection point. A few years ago, the Federal Reserve (Fed) was concerned about slow growth and deflation. As a result, Fed policymakers cut interest rates to zero and started purchasing government long-term securities to drive long-term interest rates lower as well. The Fed’s concern is now correctly focused on how to avoid excessively high economic growth that might push the inflation rate above the desired target of 2% per year.