NAWLA Vancouver – Speakers Confirmed

With the timeliness of SLA negotiations pending, we’re pleased to announce an all-star line-up of speakers is confirmed for this year’s nawlaNorth American Wholesale Lumber Association Regional Meeting at The Vancouver Club, April 21st:

  • Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO, Council of Forest Industries
  • Paul Quinn, Paper & Forest Products Analyst, RBC Capital Markets
  • Cees de Jager, Chief Marketing Officer, Softwood Lumber Board

NAWLA Executive Director Marc Saracco will open the region’s lumber marketing event of the year in the Grand Ballroom at 3:45pm. Cocktail Social to follow at 5:30 pm. Tickets are limited, available exclusively at the event website here.

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Push and Pull

Amid the uncertainty of all that’s shaping lumber markets these days, today recall Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) analyst Paul Jannke’s presentation at the LMC Expo in Philadelphia back in November. Toward the end of his decidedly bearish forecast for 2016, Jannke described home sales data as the key stat to watch when gauging future homebuilding activity. Today, we learned U.S. single-family home sales surged almost 11% in December. According to CNBC, it’s “the latest indication that the housing sector remains on firmer footing despite a massive stock market sell-off and slowing economic growth.”

Loonie Tunes

There are many ‘beginning-of-the-year’ tunes or phrases aimed at setting before us the opportunities offered up in a clean New Year sheet. “Getting started is half the task.”  “Enjoy the journey.” Even so, this January is a riddle. A year ago, January offered up record snow falls that shut down lumber markets. This year the early weather patterns, while confusing as usual, have largely been hospitable for winter construction activity in most regions of the continent.
(Addendum – 1/25: Notwithstanding the giant snowstorm over the weekend which blanketed much of the Northeast…the weather through January was generally hospitable for winter construction in most of the continent)

All fine and good until we acknowledge that our lumber markets are now, more than ever, global. A sudden awareness that China’s declared objectives of switching from a manufacturing economy to a consumer/services economy is impacting negatively on BC’s largest producers’ projections for unabated growth of softwood lumber exports to China. Add in the record lows for oil and it all makes for ‘loonie’ tune forecasts in lumber markets, whatever jurisdiction the focus.

B.C. softwood lumber exports to Mainland China (Source: B.C. Stats)

-18.1% in June 2015 YOY

-19.5% in July

-42.3% in August

-55.5% in September

-48.6% in October

-25.3% in November



Grass Huts for Homeless?

A story in this morning’s Maui News reports that Hawaiian lawmakers are considering a unique solution to the housing crisis there. A bill will be introduced in upcoming legislative session that would set aside land to build thatched homes aimed at alleviating homelessness. Senator Chun Oakland said “There is an interest in capturing some of the traditional ways of living among our people here in Hawaii.”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” said Shannon Wood, co-founder of the Windward Ahupuaa Alliance, a non-profit organization that advocates for smart growth solutions. “This is 2016, not 1616.” Wood asked whether there would be toilets in the huts.  Senator Oakland said that all details have not been worked out.
HT: Ernie Harder

Ten Questions for 2016

Here are ten questions that Harderblog will be watching in 2016, in search of answers:

    1. Will the Trump presidential campaign have staying power beyond March?
    2. Will the U.S. make history by electing a woman as president for the first time?
    3. Will B.C. softwood log exports to Mainland China eclipse B.C. softwood lumber exports?
    4. Will a new Softwood Lumber Agreement be reached between Canada and the United States before the standstill period ends Oct 13, 2016?
    5. Is this the year Virtual Reality goes mainstream?
    6. Is oil in the $20’s an inevitable reality?
    7. How low can the loonie go?
    8. Where will Conifex stock be priced in 12 months?
    9. Is this the year 3-D printers stationed in Fraser Lake begin mass production of 2×10-14’s and 16’s?
    10. Will the Chicago Mercantile Exchange implement circuit-breakers to tame volatility in the lumber futures market?

Answers 1-5

Answers 6-10