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US Demographics and House Inventories Fuel Home Size Trend

When the pandemic enabled many city dwellers to work remotely in 2020, many people bought new homes in more affordable and sprawling neighborhoods. By 2021, the average size of a newly constructed single-family house in the US expanded, bucking the downtrend in place since dropping from the record-high in 2015.

Canada’s Record Wildfires had Limited Impact on Lumber Supply

The 2023 wildfire season in Canada was vast and voracious. The amount of forested acres that burned this year was by far the largest ever recorded at 45.7 million acres. That represents a total land mass that is bigger than the state of Missouri that went up in smoke this year alone.

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.

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.