While still high compared to recent years, US and Canadian lumber prices this week started to approach what could be considered normal territory . Inventories in the field remain lean, however sawmills have managed to get wood ordered in 2Q out to their customers and are now able to assess the assets in their own yards.
Current Softwood Lumber Prices Compared to Recent and Historical Highs
Recent mayhem in the lumber market, especially with prices, is starting to abate. Manufacturers and secondary-suppliers’ prices sheets and quotes are becoming much more closely aligned, as has been traditionally the case. Some wholesalers and reloads this week even started making plans to rebuild inventory.
US house building, home sales, and house prices are all still ratcheting upward seemingly every month.
In Canada, western sawmills turned their attention to lumber and log inventory in their yards and put focus on log supply as the usual fire ban will come into effect sooner rather than later. In the east, a large portion of Quebec sawmills closed for St. Jean Batiste Day then again for Canada Day. The usual seasonal closures and curtailments — generally two weeks — will occur in Quebec soon, as a major heat wave there has already caused 33 deaths.
American sawmills remained open until 4th of July celebrations Wednesday. Similar to eastern Canada, there will be curtailments of some sawmill facilities and definitely of construction projects as very elevated temperatures make it unsafe to do heavy work outdoors.
Sawmills across North America moderated their prices this week to take advantage of these holiday disruptions and book orders for new wood to produce. Earlier this week customers had assessed their inventories and realized they have needs for actual building projects already online, thus could not afford to wait any longer in case prices go down further.