Answers to the five remaining questions from the Harderblog Top 15 Questions for 2015:
5. Who will be the first lumber producer to establish a reload in Cuba?
Hasn’t happened yet.
8. Will US politics figure dominantly in lumber trade with Canada in 2015?
In one of our most popular posts of the year, Ben Gann, Vice President Legislative Affairs and Political Affairs, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association in Washington, DC. confirmed that electoral politics of both countries figured dominantly in lumber trade in 2015. “It is unlikely that we will see a new (softwood lumber) agreement until next fall at the earliest, but probably not even then,” projected Gann, back in September. “Both countries are prohibited from taking unilateral action for one year following the expiration of the agreement. Even if it is October 13, 2016, and there is no agreement, I doubt either country will launch a trade action. Both countries appear willing to reach an agreement after a new president takes office in the U.S.” See Double Whammy.
9. Will rail rates increase to offset any reduction in fuel surcharges?
No – in fact rail rates decreased slightly over the course of the year ($2-3/M).
10. How will the exponential growth in computer power impact our business in the next 12 months?
The very thesis of exponential growth in computer power is acknowledged to have limits. Says physicist Kaku here, “.. there is an ultimate limit set by the laws of thermal dynamics and set by the laws of quantum mechanics as to how much computing power you can do with silicon. That’s the reason why the age of silicon will eventually come to a close,” arguing that Moore’s Law could “flatten out completely” by 2022. Where do we go once Gordon Moore’s axiom runs out of steam? Kaku hypothesizes several options: protein computers, DNA computers, optical computers, quantum computers and molecular computers. And then he makes a bet: “If I were to put money on the table I would say that in the next ten years as Moore’s Law slows down, we will tweak it. We will tweak it with three-dimensional chips, maybe optical chips, tweak it with known technology pushing the limits, squeezing what we can.”
13. Where will Interfor stock be priced in 12 months?
At time of posting, Interfor stock is at $13.76, down over 40% from $23.34 peak (Feb 20, 2015).