Tag Archives: Lumber Prices

PRAGCAP: Lumber Futures Could be Pointing to Improved Residential Construction

Lumber Futures Could be Pointing to Improved Residential Construction

By Walter Kurtz, Sober Look

Lumber futures turned out to be a good predictor of US housing starts. The large decline earlier this year (see post) translated into weaker than expected residential construction in June (see post). That means we should certainly pay close attention to lumber as a leading indicator. And July is showing a steady increase in prices, potentially pointing to improving demand (see figure 1).

After a disappointing result in June, is construction picking up this month ? Many economists think so. The key data that researchers point to is the Homebuilders’ survey, which is at the highest levels since 2006 (see figure 2).

The index had certainly diverged from housing starts in the past, but the combination of this survey and higher lumber prices may be pointing to an improvement in residential construction for July. The US economy could certainly use it.

Lumber futures

(Figure 1)

Homebuilder survey

(Figure 2 – Source: DB)

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CR: Lumber Prices off 25% from recent peak

Lumber Prices off 25% from recent peak

by Bill McBride on 7/07/2013 

Just two months ago I mentioned that lumber prices were nearing the housing bubble highs. Since then prices have declined sharply, with prices off about 25% from the highs in early May.

Some of the decline could be related to additional supply coming on the market, and some due to less buying from China (several sources are reporting that China has pulled back significantly on buying North American lumber).

On additional supply, a few months ago the WSJ had an article about some producers increasing supply:

Georgia-Pacific, the largest U.S. producer of plywood … plans to invest about $400 million over the next three years to boost softwood plywood and lumber capacity by 20%.

Lumcber PricesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows two measures of lumber prices (not plywood): 1) Framing Lumber from Random Lengths through last week (via NAHB), and 2) CME framing futures.

Lumber prices are now about 25% off the recent highs.

Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/07/lumber-prices-off-25-from-recent-peak.html#6cFiluGhPTIo9Fcv.99

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