Are lumber price highs of US$1,300 part of the new normal?

By David Elstone, Managing Director
The Spar Tree Group
December 7, 2022
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The pandemic years of 2020 to 2022 created unprecedented market distortions. The following analysis uses the fabled lumber super cycle as context for looking into the future. ..Are lumber prices with highs of US$1,300 per thousand board feet (on a quarterlyaverage basis) going to be part of the new normal for North American lumber markets? For the ten years prior to 2017, quarterly lumber prices averaged just belowUS$300/mbf. …It is hard to say for certain, but given the influence of the pandemic which appears to have now passed, I would say no. However, I do not believe that lumber prices are going back to pre-2017 average levels given the higher cost structure of the industry and relative changes in North America’s lumber supply and demand dynamics. While prices are not expected to reach the extreme highs of the last couple of years, it is probably fair to expect generally higher average prices than experienced pre-2017. 

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