Will the B.C. wildfires push up lumber prices all over again?

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Wholesale lumber prices are person seen a precipitous dive from their mind-boggling highest successful May. Now, though, the wildfires successful B.C. and the Northwestern U.S. are fuelling interest of a imaginable rebound.

Traders bid up lumber futures aft Canfor Corp., 1 of North America’s largest lumber producers, said connected Wednesday it was curtailing accumulation capableness astatine its Canadian sawmills arsenic a effect of utmost wildfire conditions successful Western Canada. As of the extremity of the trading time connected Thursday, a declaration for 1,000 board-feet of lumber for transportation successful September was priced astatine US$647, up much than $100 from its closing terms connected Tuesday.

Vancouver-based Canfor said it was scaling backmost accumulation due to the fact that the wildfires are importantly impacting its quality to transport merchandise to market. Amid rail-lines harm and supply-chain backlogs the fires are causing successful the province, immoderate analysts expect different sawmills to travel suit.

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But determination are different factors beyond the fires that could erstwhile again enactment unit connected wholesale lumber prices, says Kéta Kosman, steadfast of Madison’s Lumber Reporter.

Lumber prices spiked arsenic sawmills, which had pared backmost accumulation close aft the onset of the COVID-19 wellness emergency, scrambled to conscionable request from location builders and renovators amid the pandemic lodging boom.

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In May, prices reached an all-time precocious of much than US$1,600 per 1,000 board-feet, up from astir US$400 per 1000 committee feet successful February 2020.

Since then, though, they’ve been connected a steep diminution arsenic sawmills were yet capable to ramp-up proviso and the precocious prices started prompting immoderate customers to defer their purchases.

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“Production yet was capable to drawback up … and request is inactive strong, but present we’re starting to scope an equilibrium,” Kosman says.

The question is whether the pandemic roller-coaster of lumber prices is present headed up again.

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While sawmills are well-stocked with logs close now, home-building enactment remains beardown successful the U.S., which accounts for 65 per cent of Canadian lumber exports, Kosman notes.

Kosman sees different imaginable root of terms pressures successful the convulsive storms that are hitting the East Coast.

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Storm season, which is 2 months aboriginal successful the Southern and Eastern U.S., drives up request for plywood — archetypal to committee up windows and past to rebuild roofs, Kosman says.

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If you’re wondering what this means for your backyard platform revamp oregon DIY reno project, the reply is apt precise small for now, according to Kosman.

Anecdotal grounds suggests the lumber prices consumers are paying astatine location betterment stores inactive bespeak the earlier precocious of wholesale prices, Kosman says. Consumers enactment disconnected by precocious prices whitethorn privation to cheque backmost successful a mates of months, she adds.

Still, with lodging operation successful the U.S. present apt acceptable to stay elevated for a while, lumber prices are improbable to instrumentality to their pre-pandemic lows, Kosman warns.

“Don’t expect that ever again.”

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