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Conifex Cuts Production: Fort St. James, BC, Sawmill

Conifex Cuts Production: Fort St. James, BC, Sawmill

Another unfortunate addition to the list of permanent and temporary softwood lumber manufacturing sawmills in British Columbia, due to difficulties sourcing logs for timber processing, Tuesday Conifex, out of Vancouver, BC, announced another of it’s sawmills will be closing. Conifex’ Fort St. James, BC,  sawmill will be temporarily reducing its production from January 1, 2019, according to a company press release Tuesday. The Northern BC sawmill cites log costs and market conditions for the production cuts, which will affect around…

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Softwood Lumber Dimension Prices Stop Falling, Some Even Pop Back Up

Softwood Lumber Dimension Prices Stop Falling, Some Even Pop Back Up

The best description to characterize the movement of North American construction framing dimension softwood lumber wholesaler prices last week is “waffling”. Indeed, benchmark Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr price landed exactly where it had been two weeks ago, with Friday’s print in Madison’s Lumber Reporter at US$354 mfbm, having lost 1% (or $4) from the previous week’s US$358. WSPF 2×6 exhibited the exact same price changes. Trading of lumber futures on the Chicago Mercantile Commission, meanwhile, went from being on-par…

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NAFTA Dispute Resolution Forms 5-Member Panel: US Softwood Lumber Tariffs on Canada

NAFTA Dispute Resolution Forms 5-Member Panel: US Softwood Lumber Tariffs on Canada

A binational panel has been formed to review the battle between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber, with three Canadians and two Americans appointed to make a ruling under NAFTA’s contentious Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism, according to the Globe and Mail Tuesday. The issue of Canadian lumber shipments into the United States is not a direct part of the North American free-trade agreement nor the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But under NAFTA’s Chapter 19, Canada and the United States agreed…

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US Housing Affordability, Custom Home Building, House Size: 3Q 2018

US Housing Affordability, Custom Home Building, House Size: 3Q 2018

While a niche, these data are most applicable to the use of construction framing wood products, this excellent indicators for future growth / building and softwood lumber production. Released this week, the latest US home building and real estate data shows a US housing market returning to strength. But with a different mix of building types than prior to the building boom of 2004/05, and subsequent crash of September 2006. Inventories across all types of US residential dwellings are average…

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US Housing Prices, Inventory: Oct 2018

US Housing Prices, Inventory: Oct 2018

In September, US national home prices continued to rise but at a slower pace. Moreover, two metro areas experienced home price declines in September. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 4.6% in September, slower than the 6.9% increase in August. On a year-over-year basis, the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose by 5.5% in September, the lowest level since January of 2017. The…

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US New, Existing, and Pending Home Sales: Oct 2018

US New, Existing, and Pending Home Sales: Oct 2018

Sales of new single‐family US houses in October 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000, according to estimates released jointly Wednesday by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wednesday. Although weak, this was only a little below the initial report for September of 553,000 (now revised up to 597,000). “This is -8.9%  below the revised September rate of 597,000 and is -12% below the October 2017 estimate of 618,000. “ The…

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Current Softwood Lumber Prices Compared to Recent and Historical Highs: NOVEMBER 2018

Current Softwood Lumber Prices Compared to Recent and Historical Highs: NOVEMBER 2018

Happily the hunger for wood following an extended US Thanksgiving long weekend holiday was strong enough to push prices on many North American construction framing lumber prices up. Demand, which had been muted to minimal on plump inventories and slowing construction projects, came back somewhat robustly that week. Sawmills were boasting growing order files, at two-weeks out for most Canadian and US softwood lumber producers. Customers, for their part, claimed sufficient stock-on-hand, and wanted only wood for immediate building projects….

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Sawmill Accident, British Columbia

Sawmill Accident, British Columbia

A worker at the Chasm Sawmill, British Columbia, division of West Fraser was buried to about head or chest depth in a wood shavings bin area and needed to be rescued, according to a WorkSafeBC report, said the Columbia Valley Pioneer Friday. The incident was not immediately reported to the Board and between the time of the worker being buried and the conclusion of the full investigation, work resumed. The report notes that West Fraser failed to ensure adequate protection…

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US Housing Starts, Existing Home Sales: Oct 2018

US Housing Starts, Existing Home Sales: Oct 2018

US home construction improved a slight +1.5% in October, but ground breaking for single-family houses fell. The US Commerce Department said Tuesday US housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million, up from 1.21 million in September. The gains came entirely from apartments. Starts for single-family houses slipped -1.8% last month. Permits, an indicator of future activity, declined 0.6% to an annual rate of 1.26 million. On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are +5.5% higher as…

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More Sawmill Curtailments, Possible Job Action in British Columbia

More Sawmill Curtailments, Possible Job Action in British Columbia

The United Steel Workers (USW) Bargaining Committee, representing the British Columbia USW Locals 1-405 (Cranbrook), 1-417 (Kamloops), 1-423 (Kelowna) and 1-2017 (Prince George), which includes 2,600 members in the south region and 2,000 members in the north region, booked out provincial mediator Dave Schaub late Friday night after talks broke down with the Interior Forest Labout Relations Association (IFLRA), USW leadership reported in a Nov. 16 bargaining bulletin to members. The South region’s USW operations will be in official strike…

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