This past year (2016) saw very healthy increases in the demand for quality US hardwoods, particularly in the export markets.  Nation-wide export volumes exceeded 2015 volumes by approximately 11%, with Asian demand reported to be better than expected (China alone imported 24% more than they had in 2015.)   Though European hardwood demand tailed off slightly in the fourth quarter, exports to the UK, Germany, and Portugal were up in 2016.

Ash exports remained strong throughout the year, which accommodated the increased volume hitting the markets due to pre-emptive harvesting in light of the emerald ash borer.  Though cherry stumpage prices have remained mostly flat over the last several years, indications were that cherry exports were showing improvement over the previous year, with China accounting for almost 80% of that demand.  Hard maple exports were pretty much flat with 2015 levels, though China’s imports of this species were up from 2015, but that was offset by Mexico’s demands.  Soft maple export demand was lower in 2016 than 2015, but a fairly strong domestic market kept soft maple prices somewhat steady.  Red oak was one of the best performers, setting new records with substantial export demand from China and Europe.  White oak exports were also up, with especially strong demand from Japan markets. (Hardwood Review Global, January 2017)

General market comments/trends in the Appalachian Hardwoods region (last 3 months):

Black cherry; domestic demand steady; Chinese demand up; stumpage prices level; lumber prices +1.3%

Sugar maple; export demand slowing; stumpage prices slightly down; lumber prices –3.7%

Red oak; export and domestic demand steadily increasing; stumpage prices increasing; lumber prices +6.0%

White ash; demand is robust, and Chinese demand is the strongest it’s ever been; lumber prices +11.2%

Soft maple; demand tailing slightly; stumpage decreasing slightly; lumber prices -2.4%

 

Perspective and % Changes are measured from November 11, 2016 data

 

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