U.S. Lumber Imports from Europe Hold Strong

US imports of lumber from Europe have risen this year so far, defying many analysts’ expectations for overseas supplies to decrease due to falling demand, weaker prices and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Frame of Reference for Revamped Lumber Futures

Futures markets involve speculation about the future, spot markets deal with the present. They often differ from each other, but when the future finally arrives and the contracts near expiration, futures must converge with spot to function as a practical hedging tool. The legacy contract has done that.

Wildfires Rage in Canada

Canada’s wildfire season roared through spring and has already burned the largest amount of land ever recorded in a year. By late-June—with several months of wildfire season left to go—the burned area exceeded the full-year record made in 1995, according to Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. (CIFFC) data. Canada’s typical wildfire season peaks in July and fizzles out by October.

FEA Improves Accuracy of European Import Data

Forest Economic Advisors has recalculated US lumber import data from Europe after discovering an industry-wide miscalculation. The difference is large—likely over 1 billion board feet (BBF) in 2022—and explains a discrepancy between end-use market activity and US consumption that had left us scratching our heads for some time now.

Overview of Japan

Compilation: Wood Markets Monthly articles by Robert Fouquet, FEA Partner and expert on new wood product technologies

A Glimpse into 2023 Forest Products Demand After Two Volatile Years

A huge number of homes slated for construction in the US this year are still waiting to be built or completed as a chronic labor shortage, tight supplies, and steep inflation wallop homebuilders’ confidence. This comes on the heels of the industry’s rockstar performance in 2021 following a surge in pandemic-induced homebuilding demand that took the industry by surprise.

CME to Launch Truckload-Size Lumber Futures in August

CME Group Inc. plans to replace its lumber futures contract with a smaller version that will be deliverable to Chicago rather than Western Canada, following two volatile years that lifted prices to record highs. This new truckload-size contract will be a quarter the volume of the current lumber futures, and is designed to attract more buyers and sellers to the market. The new physically delivered futures and accompanying options contracts are set to launch Aug. 8, pending regulatory approval from Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Potential Impacts of Russia-Ukraine Conflict on Softwood Log and Lumber Markets

Sanctions on Russia, including the ban on using the SWIFT money transfer system, will severely limit its ability to participate in international trade, but the impacts to its softwood log and lumber trade are likely to be less affected than other industries.

Over half of Russia’s softwood lumber trade and three-quarters of its softwood log trade is with China (graphs below). China has not imposed sanctions on Russia and has payment systems independent from the SWIFT system. Only ocean shipments from St. Petersburg, which account for around 25% of China’s total volume from Russia, are traded with letters of credit based in US dollars. Some contracts have already been changed to Chinese RMB payments, however trade from Northwest Russia is likely to suffer some in the coming months.

Profiles in Employment: US Primary Wood Products Manufacturing Sector

Over the 15 months—since North America’s economies hit their pandemic-induced bottoms—much discussion in the wood products industry has centred on access to employees. Producers of solid wood products were particularly challenged to meet the demand from builders and DIYers, resulting in record-high prices for finished goods. Of course, 2020 was not just the year of the pandemic: It also saw a record number of hurricanes in the South, record fires in the West, and social unrest nationwide. What a year!