You have read about the lumber shortages facing America as economic activity heats up. Americans escaping the city have initiated a housing boom that is creating lumber shortages. The Wall Street Journal reports on one woodworker here in Newport, RI that ordered four times the lumber he normally would, and still didn’t have enough. The Journal explains:
When woodworker Michael Hendershot stocked up with lumber in March ahead of building season, he feared the coronavirus pandemic would disrupt the supply of wood more than demand for fences, decks and cabinets. He multiplied his usual order by four.
He was right. But he could have bought even more.
Lumber consumption along Rhode Island’s coast, as elsewhere in the U.S., has exceeded even optimistic forecasts, leaving home builders, retailers and craftspeople like Mr. Hendershot clamoring for wood.
Saw mills are having a hard time keeping up. Prices for wood products are hitting records all over the country.
Even in the all-markets rally that has sent stocks, bonds and commodities rising in unison since the economic shutdown, forest products stand out for how sharply their prices have climbed.
Lumber futures have more than doubled since early April, when roughly 40% of North America’s sawing capacity was curtailed by mill owners. They expected widespread job loss and economic uncertainty would torpedo demand for building products.
Instead, stuck-at-home Americans undertook home-improvement projects en masse. Home builders are rushing to meet soaring demand for houses, stoked by historically low mortgage rates and a flight to the suburbs.
“Our sales folks are spending three, four, five hours a day, dealing with customers that don’t have any inventory,” said Christopher McIver, vice president of sales and marketing at West Fraser Timber Co., North America’s largest lumber producer. “Whether it’s in plywood or whether it’s in lumber, everybody is still very, very short, including the box stores.”
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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