Hardwood Publishing has released its updated Leading Hardwood Demand Indicator (LHDI), a forecast of future demand for U.S. hardwood lumber based on residential and commercial construction, import/export trends, inflation levels, and job markets.
The LHDI declines from 113.7 in January to 107.3 in February (January 2013=100), with seasonally slow domestic construction, underlying weakness in jobs markets, and rising wood product imports all contributing. The index rebounds to 113.5 in March as exports pick up and warmer weather brings increased construction activity.
During the last week of January, hardwood lumber sales were steady to distributors and most domestic end-use sectors. Lumber supplies continue to grow, however, due to increasing production, seasonally slow exports to Asia, slumping European demand, and weakness in certain industrial markets.
A millwork manufacturer was “receiving calls from potential new suppliers on a weekly basis.” A wood component producer was regularly “turning away offers” of additional lumber. A distribution yard had “no problem filling inventory holes.” And one concentration yard had four kilns it could not unload because its warehouses were full.