For the first two months of 2020 softwood lumber production in the US continued to make improvements compared with one year ago. Sources: Western Wood Products Association, Lesprom, Madison’s Lumber Reporter
For January and February 2020 US lumber production volume increased by +5% to 6,163 mfbm compared to the first two months of 2019 when it was 5,862 mfbm.
Comparing February to the previous month however, there was a -10% drop in US softwood lumber production in February 2020 likely due to the impact of the global COVID19 pandemic.
While demand for construction framing dimension North American softwood lumber continued to surpass supply last week, it was noticeable that buyer orders to sawmills were slowing down. Interest seemed to shift from the benchmark Western Spruce-Pine-Fir to the East Side, as prices of Eastern Spruce-Pine-Fir increased by more than that of Western, according to Madison’s Lumber Reporter.
Demand for plywood, meanwhile, was unabated for reconstruction following social unrest about racial inequality.
Western S-P-F producers in the US reported another stellar week during which they wished they had more material to cover unceasing inquiry from buyers. Retailers were frustrated with late shipments but were also aware that little could be done about pandemic-caused shortages of transportation equipment and labour.
Canadian Western S-P-F producers saw business intensify last week as Canadian customers continued to swoop in and buy up every speck of wood, before anyone in the US could get to it.
Sawmill order files were at least four weeks out on all dimension lumber items. As in the West, Eastern S-P-F suppliers noted that buyers had gotten used to not worrying about asking prices and instead were focused on the simple concept of availability.
Lumber producer order files pushed into the back half of August as the acute shortage of wood stirred up desperation among buyers.