Our stumpage, log, and lumber markets have been rolling along hot and heavy, and there doesn’t seem to be signs of slowing down anytime soon. The mills are selling logs and lumber at a fast pace to both domestic and international buyers. Consequently, our timber sales activity continues to be robust, seeing terrific market participation in our bid sales with excellent results! We will be publishing additional recent stumpage bid sale results soon to illustrate the current market climate, but in the meantime, we wanted to update you on the status of the lumber market as we have in the past.
Domestic demand for hardwood lumber has been increasing, and our international markets continue to show strong interest as well. One of the challenges catching up with the industry now is the rising cost of shipping – transportation demand (need) is eclipsing transportation supply (ability). Also, according to the Hardwood Weekly Review, the “April 1 start of ‘hard enforcement’ of electronic hours-of-service logging device regulations is only worsening the already difficult shipping environment.” Despite these issues, logs and lumber are moving across the region fast and furiously.
Ash lumber has continued a slow but steady increase since the beginning of the year, with some signs of leveling off. The increasing scarcity of this fine wood because of the Emerald Ash Borer is quite noticeable in many area, and landowners are trying to harvest what they possibly can before their value is gone. Cherry is moving in a very steady uphill direction, with consistent weekly increases shown in the various lumber reports since mid-February. As before, China is the major consumer of cherry, and is apparently looking at all grades, thicknesses and colors right now. Hard maple prices have steadily increased since February, and soft maple slipped a bit in March but has steadied in April. Red oak also continues to be a prized commodity by the Chinese, with prices recently ticking upward once again.
Highlights of the Appalachian Hardwood Timber Markets – as of April 30, 2018