January-February 2016

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34 PalletCentral • January-February 2016 igher North American softwood lumber production and weaker exports to China left the domestic market for low-grade lumber oversupplied and prices soft for much of 2015. Many U.S. pallet manufacturers found #3 and #4 Common lumber abundant and inexpensive into early fall. In the fourth quarter, however, buyers reentered markets, production moderated and prices rallied. This article will examine supply and demand trends in 2015 that may offer a glimpse of what lies ahead in 2016. Abundant and Inexpensive U.S. softwood lumber production was up 2.0% on the year through September 2015 to 24.18 billion board feet (BBF), an eight-year high for that period, according to Random Lengths. Statistics Canada reported year-to-date Canadian production of 19.85 BBF through September, a 6.8% increase from the prior year, and that inventories were 11.0% higher in September 2015 than one year earlier. Supply Picture MARKETS The Softwood By Andy Johnson H

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