“Steady as she goes” are the comments in general for hardwood lumber markets over this past week. Export orders, particularly for ash and the oaks, remain consistent and are expected to continue to do so for the next couple of months, as supply levels seem to be adequate for most species (with the reported exception of higher quality cherry). Low-grade lumber sales were reported to be unchanged, except for strengthening pallet wood markets in the Northeast and Midwest, and though railroad tie demand is down, crane mats used in the drilling industry seems to be on the upswing.
The Appalachian region continues to see strong demand for ash and cherry (cherry once again increasing in price), and hard maple movement is reportedly mixed – some mills are saying demand has slowed, some say demand is stable. Some reports also say that soft maple is still preferred over hard maple (evident in the uptick in pricing this week), but the feeling is that will be tailing off shortly. Both oaks (red and white) have mixed reports as well; some say red oak markets have weakened (except for #1 common) with white oak unchanged, and others are saying the opposite. Overall, their respective lumber prices have remained unchanged since last week. (Weekly Hardwood Review).
General lumber market comments/trends in the Appalachian Hardwoods region:
Black cherry: + 12.2% (since Jan 6th 2017)
Hard (sugar) maple: –1.2% (since Jan 6th 2017)
Red oak; +0.6% (since Jan 6th 2017)
White ash; +11.3% (since Jan 6th 2017)
Soft maple; -1.2% (since Jan 6th 2017)
Perspective and % Changes are measured using data from January 6, 2017 to June 9, 2017