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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!

Profiles in Employment: US Logging Sector

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!