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2 2 PalletCentral • November-December 2014 n 2014, North American hardwood sawmills have increased operating hours, upgraded equipment to boost hourly output, and added smaller mills dedicated to converting lower-grade logs into industrial products. Some new sawmills have opened, and others that had been shuttered have reopened. Consequently, U.S. hardwood lumber production is up 10% from last year and is now pacing at an eight- year high, according to our estimates. Grade lumber availability – which had been consistently tight for over a year – is now sufficient to meet demand for all but a handful of items.than some financial experts might believe. However, higher production has not provided industrial lumber buyers with much relief from tight supplies. Many pallet manufacturers still lack for cants and cut-stock. Railroad tie markets remain vastly undersupplied. Frame stock buyers are reporting challenges finding material of decent quality. Slight cooling in frame stock markets in the summer and mat markets in the early fall narrowed the overall supply/demand gap for industrial lumber, but certainly didn't close it, and that gap appears to be widening again. Why has hardwood production failed to keep up with industrial market demand? And what is the near-term outlook for individual industrial markets? We will attempt to answer these and other questions, and also look back at the strong upward movements in industrial lumber prices seen in the last year. Industrial Markets Update The "Perfect Storm" Rages On By Hardwood Publishing Company MARKETS I One-year price trends for green 4/4 flooring-grade Oak and selected industrial lumber items (Weekly Hardwood Review).

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