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24 PalletCentral • March-April 2015 n October 2014 when we last wrote about industrial markets in detail, virtually every market driver seemed to be pointing toward tight supplies and rising prices well into 2015. Crude oil prices were around $90 per barrel; domestic oil exploration, drilling and pipeline construction projects were on the increase; and many expected crane mat and board road supplies for the oil industry to retighten in the winter. Railroad tie markets were vastly undersupplied, and tie buyers were aggressively raising purchase prices to close the gap. Pallet demand was increasing, and pallet plants were offering higher prices to bolster cant and pallet lumber receipts. Residential and truck trailer flooring plants were buying steady volumes of lumber, and strip flooring prices were steady. Buyers in China, Vietnam and Mexico were purchasing record quantities of U.S. hardwoods and had shifted their purchasing mixes toward lower grades of lumber. Higher #2 and #3 Common exports worked to limit availability of ties, cants and other industrial items. Unexpected Turns The ink had barely dried on our October article when oil prices began to plunge. They have since fallen about 40% with huge ramifications for the oil industry and its suppliers. I A Much Different Picture Industrial Markets Take Unexpected Turns By Hardwood Publishing Company MARKETS

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