Poplar Hardwood Shortage Could Impact Prices
By Andy Johnson | 05/10/2012 2:32:00 PM / Woodworking Network
North American hardwood sawmills reported steady lumber sales last week. Nearly every mill said they could sell far more poplar than they could produce. However, profits remained elusive throughout the industry.
Concentration yards were generally receiving almost all the lumber they needed. Distribution yards sales were being impacted by the shortage of poplar. Canadian flooring manufacturers have slowed their buying of oak, but are buying slightly larger volumes of hard maple. U.S. flooring plants continued to add to inventory and reported steady sales. Cabinet producers reported flat sales and controlled lumber receipts. Railroad tie markets remained strong, with overall supply still trailing demand. Pallet cant sales were mixed, with contacts in most areas reporting steady pricing. In some regions, paper mills’ log prices are still high enough to affect low-grade lumber production. Demand for industrial products, especially board road, was strong.
Overall exports were steady, with demand especially good for poplar. Activity was much better in the Far East and Mexico than in Europe. U.S. imports of lumber were low as lead times on shipments from South America and Africa have increased. Imported decking was in tight supply.