housing demand lifts lumber prices
This year’s stabilization of lofty North American lumber prices is putting smiles on the faces of mill owners around Alberta.
Lumber prices have been seeing better levels over the last few years due almost entirely to the revived housing market in the United States. After several years of struggling in the post-recession period, U.S. consumers are feeling more confident about their economy and job prospects. As a result, home builders south of the border are seeing some pent-up demand for new houses.
A lot of framing lumber goes into those structures. Last month, the benchmark price for framing lumber was $401 (U.S.) per thousand board feet. That’s the highest it’s been in over a year and well above the 10-year average of $311 (U.S.). The benchmark price is calculated by Random Lengths, a U.S.-based forestry sector organization that tracks prices and industry issues. The composite price is a weighted average of 15 key framing lumber prices.
The news is even better because of the soft Canadian dollar. The loonie was over parity with the U.S. greenback in 2013. Now, it sits around $0.91 (U.S). Lumber is priced in U.S. dollars but producers have to pay their operating costs in Canadian dollars, so the loonie’s relative weakness is boosting profits.
**Article courtesy of Todd Hirsch of ATB Financial. Thanks Todd!!