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This week (June 23) in Through a Knothole
The chief forester of the B.C. Ministry of Forests has announced a reduced annual allowable cut for one of the key timber supply areas in the province -- In the quarterly Trader's Notebook, key issues affecting wood products traders will include reactions to the combined CVD and AD duties and potential developments in any negotiations -- Prices of Ponderosa Pine shop have surged in 2017 after declining considerably in 2015 and floundering through much of 2016 -- The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports -- Most regions in Canada and the U.S. will experience normal fire risk this season, forecasters say. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
6/23/2017


Menards, Home Depot sued over descriptions of lumber size
Menards and Home Depot stand accused of deceiving the lumber-buying public, specifically, buyers of 4x4 boards, the big brother to the ubiquitous 2x4. The alleged deception: The retailers market and sell the hefty lumber as 4x4s without specifying that the boards actually measure 3½ inches by 3½ inches. For more, click here...
6/22/2017


Idaho plans to use mass timber for new arena
The momentum for mass timber continues to gain strength and speed, with last week’s announcement that the University of Idaho will build its new $30 million basketball arena from wood. Why? Because Idaho wants, and needs, to stand out from its recruiting season competitors – and the new basketball arena might do the trick. “It ties in with our land grant mission. It ties in with the timber industry. It ties in with our need for a facility. This is really resonating with people,” UI Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Spokesman-Review’s Peter Harriman. For more, click here...
6/21/2017


Tolko announces restart of OSB mill
Tolko Industries Ltd. is pleased to announce that the company is restarting its oriented strand board mill, located near High Prairie, Alberta. The mill has been closed since 2008 when North American housing starts fell to a generational low, resulting in a loss of markets for oriented strand board. With markets improving and optimism that housing starts will maintain upward momentum, the decision has been made to restart the mill, with production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. For more, click here...
6/20/2017


U.S. DOC announces preliminary antidumping duties on Chinese plywood imports
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced a preliminary determination June 19 assessing a 57.36% antidumping duty on the vast majority of Chinese companies exporting hardwood plywood to the U.S. The rate applies to more than 100 China-based suppliers. The agency set an antidumping margin of 114.72% on a few exporters. The DOC also determined that one company was not dumping and assessed no antidumping duty on that exporter. In April, DOC officials imposed preliminary countervailing duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports ranging from 9.89% to 111.09%.
6/19/2017


This week (June 16) in Through a Knothole
In about a week, one more piece of the puzzle will be revealed when traders find out the preliminary determination in the anti-dumping duty case against Canadian lumber imports -- A surge in demand for trucks has once again brought longstanding problems with the trucking industry to the forefront for many lumber traders -- U.S. housing starts tumbled in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.092 million units, its third straight monthly drop -- The expectation that China might absorb rising volumes of Canadian softwood lumber this year as duties slow Canada's shipments to the U.S. had yet to materialize through April -- North American lumber production in the first quarter gained modestly compared with the same period of 2016. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
6/16/2017


Global softwood lumber prices trend up in 2017
Global softwood lumber prices trended upward in early 2017 with prices in North America hitting a 13-year high. Chinese import prices increased 13% in 18 months and Japanese prices moved modestly higher in the 1Q/17, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...
6/15/2017


Report on Fort McMurray wildfire makes explosive criticism
A new report on the Fort McMurray wildfire makes an explosive criticism, suggesting if Alberta Forestry officials had used “high risk/high reward” fire ignition techniques to fight the wildfire before it hit Fort McMurray on May 3, 2016, they might have had some success quelling it. “Ignition tactics may have been employed earlier with some success,” the MNP consulting report released last week said. For more, click here...
6/14/2017


This week (June 9) in Through a Knothole
Myriad questions remain regarding the duty investigations into Canadian softwood lumber imports to the U.S., led by queries surrounding the posting of bonds to cover duty payments -- A nearly 16% pullback in shipments from Canada drove a 2.7% drop in the volume of softwood lumber available to the U.S. in the first quarter -- Six consecutive months of sharp hikes have pushed SYP Premium radius-edge decking prices to open a large gap with Standard RED -- Commercial viability of Western Juniper has long been seen as marginal, but recent collaboration between the public and private sectors has sought to open new doors for the species -- In a monthly Random Lengths survey, retailers reported their strongest sales expectations in more than a year. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
6/9/2017


Nation's first all-wood high-rise approved in Oregon
Officials in Oregon have approved construction permits for the first all-wood high-rise building in the nation. Construction on the 12-story building, called Framework, will break ground this fall in Portland’s trendy and rapidly growing Pearl District and is expected to be completed by the following winter. The decision by state and local authorities to allow construction comes after months of painstaking testing of the emerging technologies that will be used to build it, including a product called cross-laminated timber, or CLT. For more, click here...
6/7/2017


This week (June 2) in Through a Knothole
North America's presence in the Chinese softwood lumber market faded further in the first quarter -- The East Coast has been a traditional buyer of western Fir plywood, but sales to that market have been tough this spring -- Upward price pressure on Inland lumber may be reaching a head, but the months-long run led to the highest Inland Composite Price in more than a decade -- An index measuring developers' confidence in multifamily residential construction dropped sharply in the first quarter. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
6/2/2017


Exemption threshold reviewed for softwood lumber checkoff program
USDA has conducted a review of the exemption threshold under the softwood lumber checkoff, analyzing various thresholds ranging from 10 to 30 million board feet. A proposed rule that details USDA’s analysis and proposes an exemption threshold of 15 million board feet was published in the Federal Register on May 30, 2017. That rule provides for a 60-day comment period ending on July 31, 2017. A copy of the proposed rule can be found at click here...
6/2/2017


One killed in MDF plant explosion
A big explosion rocked Unilin’s wood product plant in Montgomery County, North Carolina Tuesday – killing one employee and sending another to the hospital. Local news sources reported both of the men were airlifted to nearby hospitals for burn treatment after the explosion. Seedy Bah, a nine-year veteran of the company, died at the hospital the next morning. For more, click here...
5/19/2017


This week (May 19) in Through a Knothole
President Trump's desire to renegotiate NAFTA will likely take precedence over any attempts to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement -- Lumber buyers in Canada have been reluctant to step in for any volume until the typical "Canadian discount" emerges in this duty environment -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore hit a decade high in the first quarter, but Canadian export trends are murky -- The seasonally adjusted annual rate of U.S. housing starts slipped in April for the second straight month, as the volatile multifamily sector fell to a five-month low -- A number of North American wood products companies increased their profit margins by double digits during the first quarter due to steady demand and higher prices. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
5/19/2017


This week (May 12) in Through a Knothole
Charts show that Canada's share of the U.S. lumber market tracks closely with the U.S. dollar-Canadian dollar exchange rate. Some analysts suggest this factor could be included in a new softwood lumber agreement -- Respondents to Random Lengths' annual compensation survey say neither President Trump's election nor duties on Canadian lumber imports will likely impact their salaries in 2017. Part 4 of a four-part series -- Although U.S. homebuilding is on the rise, lumber production at sawmills in the Coast and Inland so far this year is flat to lower than 2016 levels. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
5/12/2017


Kelowna, BC bracing for epic flood
Kelowna, B.C., may be hit in the next 24 hours by a one-in-200 year flood, emergency centre officials are warning. “What we are expecting to see is unprecedented water levels as a result of rain, rising temperatures and melting snowpack (and) the ground is already saturated,” said Brian Reardon, CORD Emergency Operations director. “In other words, it’s the perfect storm.” For more, click here...
5/12/2017


This week (May 5) in Through a Knothole
The preliminary countervailing duty on Canadian softwood lumber shipments to the U.S. has only been in place for a week, and questions about it are multiplying. Random Lengths answers as many as possible -- Canadian mills looking to build back their market share in China in the wake of duties imposed on shipments to the U.S. may be in for a challenge -- Confusion about the recent duty investigations into Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. left retailers responding to a monthly survey uncertain about the market's near-term course. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
5/5/2017


Eastern Canadian mills seek outlet for residuals
Sawmills in Eastern Canada have been running at record high levels in 2016, with production reaching levels almost 10% higher than in 2015 and almost 40% higher than five years ago, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. This has been very good news to the forest industry, with sawmills running at 97% operating rates in late 2016, according to the WWPA. However, there are also worrisome developments regarding the large volumes of residual chips that are being generated and where the chips can be sold. For more, click here...
4/28/2017


This week (April 28) in Through a Knothole
Most Canadian companies were hit with a 20% retroactive countervailing duty when the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its preliminary ruling this week -- In Part 3 of a four-part series on industry compensation, retail sales managers' average earnings slipped in 2016 from the previous year -- North American structural panel production rose 4.4% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter of 2016 -- Joe Pruski has joined the editorial staff at Random Lengths as a reporter/editor. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/28/2017


UP derailment requires 'extensive repairs'
CASTELLA, Calif. – A train derailment in Shasta County could shut down a northern California railway for up to a month. KRCR reports the derailment happened Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. 18 miles south of Mt. Shasta in the upper Sacramento Canyon along Interstate 5. The train was crossing a bridge over the Sacramento River when the derailment occurred. One of the estimated 10 cars that derailed was still on the bridge following the incident. A Union Pacific Railroad representative said all the derailed cars were empty and there were no spills of any hazardous material. For more, click here...
4/28/2017


Two killed in lumber train derailment
Police say a train derailment in the tiny community of Woss on northern Vancouver Island killed two people and injured three others on Thursday. Dave Rushton, the community’s regional elected representative, said the cause of the accident is under investigation but early reports indicate a crew was on the tracks when the rail cars approached without warning. For more, click here...
4/21/2017


This week (April 21) in Through a Knothole
For the first time in modern-day countervailing duty investigations, New Brunswick has been included in the process -- In Part 2 of Random Lengths' annual compensation survey, wholesale/distribution sales managers' average income in 2016 dropped from a record level in 2015 -- U.S. housing starts in March fell 6.8% from an upwardly revised February reading -- The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed preliminary countervailing duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/21/2017


Washington sawmill returns to production
It was about a year ago that the owners of Mary’s River Lumber Co. in Montesano, Wash., announced its mill would close. As a result, 38 people lost their jobs, the city lost revenue and the facility basically went idle. In the case of mills, when they shut down, they don’t always open again. So residents logically saw the end of a Montesano mainstay. The mill had been in operation for more than 40 years. It was in December last year, some nine months later, that dismay became fanfare as the city announced a pending deal with Fox Lumber, a Montana company, to revive the mill. The company had planned to hire back some 30 of the people who had lost their jobs when the mill closed in March 2016. Now four months later, the mill is employing 29 people. For more, click here...
4/19/2017


Commerce imposes preliminary CVD on Chinese hardwood plywood
The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Tuesday it had made a preliminary finding of subsidies in imports of hardwood plywood products from China and will impose countervailing duties ranging from 9.89% to 111.09%. The investigation follows petitions from six privately owned U.S. plywood producers into the imports, which are used in wall panels, kitchen cabinets, table and desk tops, and flooring. For more, click here...
4/19/2017


This week (April 14) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths' annual compensation survey begins a four-part series with mill managers -- The effort by the CN Railway to keep cars on what it deems "high-velocity" tracks has some distributors and wholesalers scrambling to cover customers' needs -- Anomalies have once again surfaced in statistics tracking the flow of softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada, as well as U.S. lumber imports from offshore -- Forestry officials in Alabama are increasingly concerned about beetle infestations this year after record-setting drought. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/14/2017


CLT: 'Greatest thing since sliced wood'
Cross laminated timber, or CLT, is being touted as a revolutionary and environmentally friendly building material that can support structures reaching 12 stories and potentially higher, and could be the game-changing economic factor that timber communities have been looking for since the industry began to decline three decades ago. “It’s the greatest thing since sliced wood; that’s my tag line,” said former state senator Brian Hatfield, Gov. Jay Inslee’s personal pick for studying ways to breathe life back into the state’s wood products industry. For more, click here...
4/11/2017


This week (April 7) in Through a Knothole
Revisions in export data have added intrigue to whether CVD duties will be declared retroactive -- North American softwood lumber exports to China are off to the slowest two-month start in seven years -- The approach of the preliminary determination in the CVD case was the hot topic of conversation at the Montreal Wood Convention -- A column for Inland Red Cedar #3&Btr boards graded on both faces debuts in the Lumber Price Guide -- Retailers' sales expectations leveled off in March after a strong jump in February, according to a monthly survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/7/2017


U.S. Forest Service promotes CLT
The U.S. Forest Service is working to build markets for innovative forest products. One of these products, cross-laminated timber, also known as CLT, offers an opportunity for raising tall buildings with wood, opening up a completely new market for wood products. And there’s tremendous opportunity to increase the market share for wood-based construction. Because of its high strength, CLT is an advantageous alternative to traditional building materials such as concrete, masonry, and steel. Because CLT panels resist compression, they are well-suited for building multistory structures, especially mid-rise buildings. For more, click here...
4/5/2017


Argentum leads growth capital investment in Conner Industries
Conner Industries, Inc., a national lumber processor and leading provider of integrated packaging solutions, announced Tuesday that it has received a substantial growth capital investment from Argentum and other existing investors, as well as a group of new investors. Members of Conner’s management team, including its chairman, CEO and certain executives, also invested personally in the round of financing. Conner also announced that concurrently with the closing of the growth capital investment, its senior lender, Wells Fargo, has renewed its $18 million line of credit. For more, click here...
4/4/2017


This week (March 31) in Through a Knothole
A restriction on the CN Railway and wood products producers' response to it riled Western S-P-F traders -- Lumber importers in the Pacific Rim took a wait-and-see approach regarding potential duties on Canadian exports to the U.S. -- U.S. Western Red Cedar producers have ratcheted up their prices due to a recent increase in log costs -- Federal lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills that incentivize the construction of tall wood buildings. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/31/2017


This week (March 24) in Through a Knothole
Formal negotiations to reach a new Softwood Lumber Agreement have yet to materialize just one month before the preliminary CVD determination is due -- Eastern S-P-F producers are exploring their options as decisions on imposition of duties move closer to reality -- Southern Pine plywood prices are in recovery mode after recent annual declines -- Revised import data from the U.S. Census Bureau has resolved a months-long discrepancy in statistical reports measuring Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. -- The U.S. International Trade Commission has postponed its preliminary determination of an anti-dumping duty investigation associated with hardwood plywood imports from China. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/24/2017


Universal's Mordell advises forestry students about career in lumber industry
Michigan State University alumnus Mike Mordell is executive vice president for international operations for Universal Forest Products International, a Universal Forest Products company. He says the lumber industry features a dynamic supply chain and that the business operates a lot like the stock market. “We might not be as sexy as dot-coms or Silicon Valley, but we’re integral to how the world and the economy operates." For more, click here...
3/22/2017


Canfor plans to make oil from wood waste
Canadian logging giant Canfor Pulp has announced its developing the first ever commercial-scale biocrude oil plant. Biocrude is a synthetic fuel under investigation as a substitute for petroleum. Canfor says the biocrude will be nearly indistinguishable from traditional crude oil. "In the next few years we'll be announcing a project and building a real facility that will produce upwards of 400,000 barrels of oil a year," said Bret Robinson, president of Canfor Pulp. For more, click here...
3/20/2017


This week (March 17) in Through a Knothole
Producers of LVL, I-joists, and glulam beams have raised prices on the heels of the strong rally in lumber and structural panels in February -- Negotiations surrounding the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade issue will take center stage regarding issues that will affect traders in the second quarter -- Last year's shipments of lumber to the U.S. from European suppliers were at the highest rate since 2008 -- For the second year in a row, a large increase in lumber production in Quebec led to a jump in North American lumber output -- Led by a surge in the West, housing starts in February rose 3.0% from January. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/17/2017


This week (March 10) in Through a Knothole
A bark beetle infestation in the Sierra Nevada region of California has killed millions of trees -- Led by a surge in imports, the supply of softwood lumber to the U.S. market in 2016 rose 9.5% -- WWPA report: After emotional start to year, U.S. economy and wood products demand expected to grow steadily in 2017 -- After shattering records the previous two years, U.S. imports of MDF from offshore faded in 2016 -- A column for Inland Red Cedar #3&Btr boards graded on both faces will be added to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/10/2017


Global lumber trade up 66% since recession
Global softwood lumber trade increased 12% year-over-year to reach a new record-high of 121 million cubic meters in 2016, per estimates by Wood Resources International. Since the global financial recession in 2009, there has been a steady climb in international trade of lumber, with shipments the past seven years having increased as much as 66%. While it is no surprise that China is a major driver for the dramatic rise in lumber shipments worldwide the past seven years, it is interesting to note that the U.S. has actually increased softwood lumber imports more than China. For more, click here...
3/7/2017


Senate, House introduce Timber Innovation Act
WASHINGTON – The Senate and House today introduced the “Timber Innovation Act” to the support of the American Wood Council (AWC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (SLMA). Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT) Angus King (I-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Senate bill. The House bill was introduced by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Peter Welch (D-VT). For more, click here...
3/7/2017


This week (March 3) in Through a Knothole
The reported price of green Douglas Fir 2x10 has been at a premium to dry Fir 2x10 for more than a quarter -- Last month's surge in prices of Southern Pine dimension was strong, but not unprecedented -- Western Fir plywood has made inroads against Southern Pine plywood in the Los Angeles market recently -- According to a monthly survey, retailers have adjusted their lumber sales expectations sharply higher. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/3/2017


Idaho sawmill wins national award
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has named Bennett Lumber Products, Incorporated as the Small Business of the Month for February. The company, which has mills in Princeton, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash., will be recognized in the Congressional Record of the U.S. Senate. “Bennett Lumber epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit of Idaho,” Risch says. “It is not easy to grow and adapt in the ever-changing regulatory climate that impacts small business owners, especially those who deal with natural resources, but these challenges have not kept Bennett Lumber from thriving while at the same time making great efforts to manage land and forests sustainably. I am proud of the work that Bennett Lumber continues to do in Idaho and Washington, and am pleased to distinguish this company as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Month.” For more, click here...
3/2/2017


Lumber top commodity gainer in futures in February
Lumber futures scored the biggest gain among major commodities for the month of February, as Donald Trump’s first full month as U.S. president fed uncertainty surrounding the nation’s lumber trade dispute with Canada. Random length lumber for May delivery was trading at $365.90 per 1,000-board-feet Tuesday afternoon, set for a roughly 10.9% gain for the month. Year to date, prices have climbed nearly 16%, based on the most-active contracts, after jumping almost 23% in 2016, according to FactSet data. For more, click here...
3/1/2017


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