Demand, Production, and Prices Strong
According to the Engineered Wood Association (APA), lumber markets showed
surprising strength during the first part of November, as demand continued to
support full production. While spruce-pine-fir prices were mixed ó higher in the
East, lower in the West ó and Douglas fir was flat overall, southern pine and
Inland species (such as Hem-fir and Ponderosa pine) recorded some gain in most
"Key indicator" prices are substantially higher than one year ago. For instance,
KD 2x4 Western S-P-F is about 27 percent higher than a year ago. Green Douglas
fir prices are reported at various levels, but in general this benchmark is
about 10 percent higher than a year ago.
These higher prices are good news for Western region producers because orders
and production are at or above year-ago levels. As well, production is running
about 8 percent ahead of the five-year baseline average, and orders are 13
percent higher, according to the Western Wood Products Association.
FRA Recognizes Thomas and MacMillan
The Forest Resources Associationís (FRA) Western Division awarded Montanaís
Craig Thomas its regionís pro-forestry activism award
John Lebvre congratulates
for 2003. He was con-Carol and Robert MacMillan gratulated for his with
numerous efforts to support wise, sustainable
forest management in the Northern Rockies.
Thomas says that Montanaís 2000 wildfire season changed his life. A career
forester after graduating from the University of Montana in the 1970s, Thomas
volunteered as a wildfire fighter for over a month that summer. When he saw the
loss of wildlife habitat, healthy watershed and property, he realized he needed
to speak out loudly, repeatedly and clearly on behalf of sound forest management
at every opportunity.
The FRA also recognized Robert and Carol MacMillan of MacMillan and Company,
Montesano, Wash., as its Western Division Outstanding Logger for 2003. They
received a cash prize and a new Stihl chain saw.
Highlighting Robertís achievements, FRA Western Division Chairman, John Lefebvre
of Weyerhaeuser, noted the highly respected quiet management style with his
employees and his commitment to safety. Robert began working in the woods in
1971. In 1983 he started his own company, and weathered the downturns of the
industry a decade later to develop his current company, which now operates up to
five sides with 20 employees.
NWPA Awarded Grant for Small Wood
NWPA has been selected and awarded a grant to conduct an R&D study on the
utilization and usability of small diameter lodgepole pine in value-added
manufacturing. This grant is being awarded through the U.S. Forest Service as
part of the National Fire Plan. Lodgepole pine material will be tested for
furniture components, edge-glued panels and other products where lodgepole can
be used as an alternative fiber.
New APA Officers Elected
John Murphy, plywood general manager at Murphy Plywood of Sutherlin, Ore., and
Ron Salisbury, manager of Potlatch Corporationís Grand Rapids, Minn. OSB
facility, were elected recently as chairman and vice chairman of the APA Board
NTEA Forecasts an Upswing in 2004
This fall, six leading U.S. economists at the NTEA (National Truck Equipment
Association) 2004 Economic Outlook Conference had positive things to report on
growth in the upcoming year. And all agreed that commercial truck and
transportation equipment would be a part of that growth.
"The speakers indicated that the economic expansion actually began late last
year, but growth was slow until recently and the labor market has yet to catch
up," reported Steven Latin-Kasper, NTEA Market Data & Research Director. The
economists added that they saw the demand for labor increasing in the second
quarter of 2004.
WWPA Predicts Modest Decline in Lumber
Demand in 2004
WWPA (Western Wood Products Association) foresees a mild slowdown in new home
construction and repair and remodeling expenditures in 2004, reducing U.S.
WWPA predicts U.S. lumber consumption will decline
1.8 percent to 55.7 billion board feet in 2004. Despite the pull back, volume
used will be the third highest on record. Lumber demand in 2003 is expected to
reach an all-time high of 56.7 billion board feet.
"The housing sector has been a bright spot of the U.S. economy the past few
years, fueling unprecedented demand for lumber products," says WWPA President
Michael OíHalloran. "Itís clear that wood remains the top choice for building
and remodeling homes for American families. While activity will be slower in
2004, we foresee another year of strong demand for Western lumber products."
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