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