Market stability is returning for manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of North American forest products as U.S. housing starts have now found a floor, writes Keta Kosman in Madison’s Lumber Reporter.
As of November 2013, housing starts in the U.S. passed the 1 million annualized mark and are expected to maintain at least that level for the next couple of years. Meanwhile, lumber consumption in China remains stable while Japan and the UK post increased import volumes.
The extremely cold weather gripping large parts of the continent this week will delay already-booked lumber shipments, but this logistics and supply chain issue will only be temporary. Some customers may struggle with late arrivals of their lumber rail cars, however there will be no ultimate impact on total 1Q shipment volumes.
Southern parts of the U.S. not accustomed to below-freezing weather will likely have some repair and reconstruction work to do once the ice melts and the ground again become workable.
Lumber production and export numbers for most of 2013 in Canada and the U.S. are similar, or slightly up, from the previous year.