by William Sampson
email@example.com HARDWOOD TRENDS
Higher prices seen in hardwood trends
Both lumber and panel product prices on the rise;
red oak strong; cherry demand returns.
Wood manufacturers are looking at positive growth continuing in 2018, but they need to
expect rising prices for both hardwood
lumber and panel products.
According to a report from Forecon
Inc., “Lumber prices for our major (by
value) species have all shown heavy
demand, and most have seen a consistent
upward trend in price throughout 2017
and certainly coming into 2018.” Forecon
Inc. is one of the oldest established
professional forestry consulting firms
operating in the hardwood regions of
the Eastern United States.
Forecon is reporting high demand for
ash lumber in the face of concerns about
the emerald ash borer damaging ash
timber resources. Another hardwood on
the rise is black cherry, which is seeing
higher demand, especially from export
markets, particularly from China and
other Asian countries. But there is also
elevated demand in the domestic market.
There is continuing strong demand
for hard maple, especially green lumber
(not kiln-dried), and reports are that
there has been a specific increase in
demand from cabinet manufacturers.
This is another case where strong export
demand, especially in Asia, continues to
boost the price. Soft maple is not in as
much demand as hard maple, with prices
actually dropping a bit in the first half of
One of the steadiest and strongest
species of all continues to be red oak,
which has set record export levels in
volume and dollars this past year, and
both international and domestic are
staying strong in 2018. Forecon predicts
sustained high prices for oak, keeping
prices high and possibly climbing even
higher into the summer months.
The influence of Asian markets is
nowhere more obvious than in the hard-
wood panel market.
After China lost the trade dispute
over dumping of hardwood panel products, significant tariffs were enacted and
then postponed, but industry officials
report prices have jumped even without
the tariffs actually in place.
“We are already getting solicitations
for Chinese softwood panels as they
attempt to avoid hardwood duties,” said
Tyler Freres, vice president of sales for
Freres Lumber in Lyons, Oregon. “Chi-
nese structural panel imports were up
374% in 2017.”
He also noted that high laminated
veneer lumber demand has affected
pricing in all grades of veneer plywood
“There is a very good chance that
prices will continue to escalate going forward unless raw material costs decrease,”
he said. ;
Industry forecasters predict continued higher prices for hardwood lumber in 2018.