Quebec sawmills losing money as lumber demand drops

CBC News
January 28, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Jean-François Champoux

Sawmills in Quebec have not turned a profit for more than a year due to the drop in demand for lumber, according to industry experts. …The situation pushed some sawmills in the province to temporarily slow down production in 2023 to limit deficits. One sawmill in the Quebec region of Lanaudière, the Scierie Saint-Michel, is back to operating at full capacity — but at a loss, said CEO Jean-François Champoux. “The entire forestry industry has been operating at a loss since the beginning of 2023,” Champoux said. The profitability of sawmills is tied to housing starts, which themselves are influenced by interest rates. Those rates have tripled in the last two years, according to Francis Cortellino, economist for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. …Jean-François Samray, the director of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, said he expects interest rates to drop, which should mean more housing starts on the horizon.

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