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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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