- Will any updated data surface to corroborate our recent polling that 99.3% of lumber traders have no idea what you’re talking about when you mention culture wars?
- Will a rebounding ‘covid-reopened’ China account for two-thirds of global growth in 2023?
- Will Russia’s behavior as a rogue state be the greatest global risk this year?
- In consideration of what some analysts call BC forest industry overreach, will 2023 be considered a “tipping point” in context of a fiber supply crisis?
- Will wood pellets still be considered “sustainable biomass” by the end of 2023?
- Will global catastrophic weather-related events trigger a heightened sense of urgency around action on the climate emergency?
- What sporting event will deliver up the greatest upset in result this year?
- Will the rise in eco-friendly materials in construction find new relevance and impact in the lumber industry?
- Will AI find newly-perceived value in construction in ways that impact the lumber industry?
- Will advancements in robotics find surprise new application for lumber trading floors in search of stepped up efficiencies and motivational strategies in enhancing customer services?
- Euro softwood lumber export volumes to the US accelerated last year, while BC exports to the US declined (CIBC Capital Markets 9 Jan. 2023). Will this trend continue in 2023?
- Will we experience a recession in 2023?
- Will there be a dramatic new breakthrough in the medical field that captures more attention than NASA’s planned space missions?
- Will new polling reveal that people are becoming bored of raging on social media?
- Will the January 1st imposition of a two-year ban preventing foreigners’ buying into Canada’s housing market result in more affordable housing for Canadians?
- Will most lumber industry associates we know maintain their lumber trader’s characteristic cheerful disposition by year end?
Tag Archives: bc forest
Year-end Answers – 2022
1. Will more lumber traders discover benefits of practicing mindfulness as a tool to improve mental well-being with ever increasing, stress-inducing market volatility?
Dr Jon Kabit-Zinn could be describing the ever-wary lumber wholesaler when he tells us that our minds spend most of the time in the future, preoccupied with either worrying or planning. Founder of the life-altering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness meditation apps exploded in popularity during the pandemic. It seems reasonable therefore to assume more lumber traders discovered the benefits of mindfulness this year in midst of a punishing, prolonged market correction still unfolding.
2. Will either U.S. or Canadian men’s soccer teams record satisfying results in the World Cup in Qatar this year?
Making the knockout stage of the World Cup is considered a win by many after both the US and Canada missed the tournament entirely in 2018. With that in mind, we would consider the US advancement to the knockout stage more satisfying than Canada’s failure to earn a single point. Canada’s thrilling, grueling journey to qualify for their first men’s World Cup since 1986 will be this fan’s lasting memory.
3. Will the labour pool for truckers grow in North America?
While the labour shortage for truckers has eased slightly in 2022 after more than 80% of TL carriers raised pay last year, the industry still faces its second largest number of vacancies on record. American Trucking Association Chief Economist Bob Costello expects the shortage of truckers to double by 2028.
4. Will the latest record-shattering lumber market run end differently this time?
The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price peaked in Q1 at $1334 (Mar. 10) before disintegrating month after month through year-end ($380 Dec. 27). It’s well understood that lumber markets generally take the stairs up and the elevator down (in 2021, the composite crashed from an all-time high of $1515 in May to $389 in August). Perhaps the only thing different this time was the long, winding trip down.
5. Will contemporary democracy be deemed viable in America by the end of 2022?
Yes, it is deemed viable still. Results in the US midterm election underscored the resiliency of the US democracy. At the same time, there is evidence of agreement across the political spectrum that problems like money politics, identity politics, wrangling between political parties, political polarization, social division, racial tension and the wealth gap have become more acute. It is not a partisan conclusion therefore to acknowledge that all of this has weakened the functioning of democracy in America. While politics may appear to be less strident or discordant north of the 49th, there is general acknowledgement that creeping authoritarianism across the globe is a growing threat to western democracies everywhere.
6. Will Putin’s Russia invade Ukraine?
Yes. On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War which began in 2014. Reports indicate it’s likely there are tens of thousands of deaths on both sides, while causing Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
7. Will the Old Growth logging deferral be an unresolved issue for B.C. by the end of 2022?
8. Will pandemic woes be better or worse by end of 2022 in terms of impact on ‘normalizing’ our lives?
Covid variants are rising and new strains of respiratory flus are leading to hospitalizations that threaten overburdened healthcare systems. In terms of ‘normalizing’ our lives, there is ample evidence that ongoing programs of vaccination and common-sense health protective measures are playing out in most regions of the continent. We seem to be “living with it”. The same cannot be said for some countries such as China, where reported loosening of covid protocols is hardly deemed to be “normalizing” life.
9. Will the early lockout of Major League Baseball mean no summer ball? Should we care?
The MLB strike in 2022 ended March 10 with the signing of a new agreement. Issues raised between the league and union involved compensation for young players and limitations on tanking to receive higher draft picks. So there was a summer ball season. We might not have cared except for the Blue Jays exciting tease through October.
10. How will the accelerated pace of digital transformation across every organization alter collaboration between remote workers and office workers in the lumber industry in 2022?
Microsoft Teams has emerged as the cloud-based collaboration software of choice between remote workers and office workers in the industry. Further, the instant messaging and video meeting capabilities of remote communications platforms such as Microsoft Teams have helped close the geographical divide between lumber distributors and customers in all markets.
11. Will B.C.’s largest sawmill owners’ trend of expanding their investment in forestry operations south of the border increase unabated in 2022?
Last year set new records for lumber company acquisitions, with $2.2 billion of takeovers playing out in North America, more than the previous five years combined according to a report from analyst Paul Quinn, RBC Capital Markets. As early as March 2022, industry reports declared that investment banks were predicting Canada’s largest forest products companies would continue to expand south of the border by targeting privately-owned timberlands and sawmills. Early reporting by analyst Benoit Laprade of Scotia Capital showed that the enjoyment of excess cash flows early in the year underscored the economic attractiveness of acquisitions south of the border.
12. Will the longest reigning monarch in British history – Elizabeth II – be ruling over the British Commonwealth of Nations by the end of 2022?
Sadly, the answer is no. She was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, including Canada, from 6 February 1952 until her death 8 September 2022.
13. Will year-end survey ascertain that most lumber traders are in compliance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation of at least 7 hours sleep per night that is required for maintaining well-being and healthy life?
Our year-end survey at Dakeryn ascertained that most lumber traders are more likely to short their slumber than their lumber, by not being in compliance with CDC recommendation of at least 7 hours sleep per night. How trader sleep deprivation contributes to ill-advised market decisions or personal irritability remains an open question for another day, or year.
Am pleased to report that despite harsh winter weather in Vancouver before Christmas, we can pass along kudos to Dakeryn traders Daniel Binng and Phil Barter who shopped, assembled, and delivered company-record 50 food hampers to First United Church housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Scribbles from the virtual 2021 COFI Convention
- Convention buzzwords: challenges, volatility, change, value-added, relationships, Indigenous, partnerships, diversity, climate, carbon, communities, everyone, recovery, collaboration, mass timber, pandemic, resilient, lumpy.
- “Transitioning to high value over high volume production will be a key element of a revitalized B.C. forest industry. The shift to value-added will help people by creating sustainable forestry jobs across B.C. We need to get more from less. Our government wants to make sure fibre is getting to manufacturers who can add more value and create more jobs as a result.”
– Hon. Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
- “I want my grandchildren to be able to find family-supporting work in the forest sector if that’s what they choose. But I also want them to be able to go for a hike to see old growth in the forest, not in a history book.”
– Hon. Katrine Conroy
- “This tension between President Biden’s goals of achieving a strong rebound for Americans, the American middle class, American workers, American jobs – and the price of lumber and the supply of lumber – is coming to a head.”
– Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador of Canada to the United States
- “I think that we will find that the pressure will mount for the American side to want to return to the negotiating table. To be clear however, neither the administration nor the lumber coalition have signaled an interest in doing so yet.”
– Kirsten Hillman
- “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Nov. 2019 speaks to our sovereignty, our ability to self-determination, and speaks to recognition that Indigenous rights are human rights. The declaration doesn’t give First Nations more rights nor does it recognize that United Nations give us more rights, rather it recognizes what already exists.”
– Terry Teegee, BC Regional Chief
- “We can have a whole conference on this issue of free, prior, and informed consent. But what I need to really make clear is no government has a veto. There is this fearmongering that this act gives First Nations a veto which isn’t the case. Rather it creates that space where all governments can make a decision.”
– Terry Teegee
- “Things have changed, there’s been a real reckoning here over the last year with this pandemic. Industry must change.”
– Terry Teegee
- “The old way of doing business in our territory wasn’t working. I can recall back in 1992 we only had two workers in the forest industry and today I’m proud to say we probably have up to about 20 people that are benefiting from forest activity in our territory. I’m very happy that we found two organizations that were willing to work with us to create the change necessary..”
– Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations
- “‘Everything is One’ – an integrated resource management plan.”
– Robert J. Dennis Sr.
- “To reach this point you need a few things.. but first and foremost, you need to have a relationship based on respect and trust. Most importantly, we were all willing to listen.”
– Don Demens, President & CEO, Western Forest Products
- “Where business can participate in reconciliation is on the moving forward part. We can participate by creating our own relationships.. long-lasting partnerships rather than short term transactional agreements.”
– Don Demens
- “Success to me is really following through on what we collectively set out to achieve and building that relationship.”
– Brian Butler, President, United Steelworkers 1-1937
- “What does reconciliation mean to you?”
– Moderator Shannon Janzen, Vice President & Chief Forester, Western Forest Products
- “Even when demand and prices rebounded it was always against the backdrop and an overhang of a devastating pandemic impacting many lives. Not everything was equal, it’s been very lumpy. It was really a 6 or 7 year cycle all condensed into one year.”
– Ray Ferris, President & CEO, West Fraser
- “We need to keep in context that the BC industry took more downtime than any other region in North America. When demand stopped for a period of time, half the curtailments in the industry in North America came from BC – simply devastating to our employees and the communities that we operate in. We learned again as we did in 2019 that BC is not as well-positioned as we need to be.”
– Ray Ferris
- “A year ago we had reduced our production significantly to try to deal with what we may be facing. We were preparing for the worst. We were running at about 30% of production in BC, 50% in the US South, and about 80% at our mills in Sweden.”
– Don Kayne, President & CEO, Canfor Corporation
- “I don’t mind telling you I’m tired of hearing the word unprecedented.”
– Ray Ferris
- “One thing for certain about trying to project prices is you’re going to be wrong.”
– Don Kayne
- “Wood is one of nature’s perfect materials. It’s renewable, it grows with the power of the sun, and it captures carbon as it grows. And then we convert these trees into useful long-lived products like lumber. And then we replant and the cycle starts again. BC is in an extraordinary position as the demand for wood continues to grow as a solution for climate change.”
– Jeff Zweig, President & CEO, Mosaic Forest Management
- “Most of the large iconic trees in BC, not all of them but most of them in unique ecosystems, are already conserved in parks. That’s a result of 30 years of old growth strategy refinement and special designations on top of that including the Great Bear Rainforest. I think everyone shares the objective to achieve long term ecosystem health. There aren’t many jurisdictions around the world that have as much parkland as BC or are as tightly regulated.”
– Jeff Zweig
- “Before we make changes to the way in which we manage old growth forest in BC, we need to understand what the socioeconomic impacts will be. Undoubtedly, undoubtedly we can do better. But let’s just be very considerate about how we do it, particularly during a pandemic.”
– Jeff Zweig
- “I have heard repeatedly if we want to build a value-added marketplace we need to make sure to cultivate that right here at home. An essential part of our approach to the industry is to make sure we do focus on that value-added marketplace and we stop chasing every stick to get it out as quickly as we can.”
– Hon. John Horgan Premier of British Columbia
- “Two years ago I wrote to CEO’s in the industry outlining our vision for the industry. I wrote that letter because the growing shortage of fibre following the one-two punches of successive wildfire seasons and the end of the beetle kill made it imperative we do something about the declining fibre basket and too many people chasing too few trees. And I encouraged CEO’s to work with leaders from labour, from communities and from Indigenous Nations to find a way forward to show leadership on the land base with all of the partners. And I acknowledge there were many challenges to that initiative and I was more hopeful than perhaps I should have been. Of course there have been some B2B tenure sales and arrangements with Indigenous Nations have happened, but you’ll all be aware of course that there’s progress yet to happen and I’m disappointed about that.”
– Hon. John Horgan
- “So to bring about the change, government will have to step in I believe to make the appropriate incentives to get the job done. And just an aside to our American friends, incentives do not mean subsidies, incentives mean we’re making the transition as a community to make sure we take full advantage of the bounty that belongs to all of us.”
– Hon. John Horgan
- “Those who do have tenure and do not want to share it, well we’ll have to step in and ensure there’s fair compensation as we move to a more equitable distribution of access to forest products so that we can continue to have the diversity that we all want to see.”
– Hon. John Horgan
20 Questions for 2020
Here are 20 questions that Harderblog will be watching this year, in search of answers:
- Will billionaire Jimmy Pattison succeed in taking Canfor private before his 92nd birthday on October 1, 2020?
- Will volumes of reduced fibre made available to sawmills from BC woodlands be outstripped by fibre consumed in Shredded Wheat?
- In this age of emerging technology, will tech gadgets surface that invite even lumber traders to investigate their perceived practical value?
- Will the US standoff with North Korea find resolution before the Softwood Lumber Dispute between Canada and the US?
- Will the financial bull markets of the last decade continue to roar in 2020?
- Will economic disparity between the haves and the have-nots show signs of narrowing?
- Will a recovery in lumber prices postpone more production curtailments and permanent sawmill closures in BC?
- Seedlings for forest revitalization in BC are forecast to rise from 270 million seedlings in 2019 to a record 310 million in 2020. How many trees will be planted?
- As the market for sustainable mass timber construction grows, how many more cross-laminated timber (CLT) plants will open in North America this year?
- Will shipment volumes of European lumber flood the Northeast US market as some analysts project?
- Is integrity still considered to be the core quality in evaluating services delivered by lumber wholesalers?
- Will the Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman later this year reprise its Tony winning best musical of 1957, when it enjoyed a run of 1375 performances?
- Will Home Depot succeed in reducing the rise in millions of dollars worth of goods stolen from the chain by organized criminals?
- In overtaking Toronto as the most expensive city in Canada, will Vancouver maintain that position in 2020?
- Will an old growth protection strategy be established in BC?
- Will there be significant evidence of steps being taken to counter negatives impacting climate change?
- Will there be a cooling in the ideological struggle that exploded in Hong Kong in 2019 between Hong Kong rule of law and Beijing rule of law?
- Will clues of democracy giving way to authoritarian governments become more pronounced in 2020?
- Will John Bolton publish a book that contains information deemed to include “explosive, new revelations”?
- Is Donald J. Trump still president at the end of 2020?
As we approach year-end, you’ll recall 19 questions for 2019 we posed one year ago at Harderblog:
1. Will the railways be better prepared for winter weather conditions?
If lumber prices are any gauge, yes. In 2018, extreme cold temperatures in Q1 severely reduced rail capacity, driving lumber prices to all-time highs in Q2, 2018. In Q1 2019, comparatively muted lumber prices suggest overall network capacity improved.
2. Will the extreme price volatility in lumber markets this year persist in 2019?
No. In 2018, the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price peaked at $583 (June 5) before shedding a whopping $245 over four expensive months riddled with false starts, before finally bottoming at $338 Oct 30. In sharp contrast, this year the gap between the composite high ($378 in Feb) and low ($320 in June) was narrow. The composite currently sits at $373. Random Lengths recently described lumber markets through much of 2019 as “challenging and fickle” (Dec 20).
3. Will Justin Trudeau still be Canada’s prime minister after Canada’s federal election scheduled on or before October 21, 2019?
Yes, barely. Canada’s Liberal party under Justin Trudeau’s leadership won 157 seats to form a minority government and lost the majority they had won in the 2015 election. Trudeau’s Liberals formed a government while receiving less than 35 per cent of the national popular vote, the lowest percentage of the national popular vote of a governing party in Canadian history. The Conservative Party remains the official opposition with 121 seats. The Bloc Quebecois won 32 seats. The New Democratic Party won 24 seats.
4. Will Donald Trump still be America’s president by the same date?
5. Will Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden emerge as the leading Democratic presidential nominee for 2020 by the end of 2019?
Beto bid the race bye bye November 1 while polls still consider Biden the nervous front runner.
6. Will the 12 months of 2019 provide conclusive evidence that trade wars are “easy to win”?
Au contraire! Ongoing reporting reaffirms damaging, costly, induced complexities in play. While baby steps on resolving trade issues are reported, what’s been described by year end as a cold war on trade with China is evidence that “trade wars are not easy to win”.
7. Will noise about the border wall on the U.S. southern border have lessened by the end of 2019?
Yes, at least based on news reports beamed north of the 49th. Or, perhaps it’s simply being drowned out by ongoing competitive, attention-seeking noises spurred on by politics.
8. Will progress be reported in solutions for solving the opioid epidemic?
A US Center for Disease Control (CDC) spokesperson said provisional data and other reports signify that “progress is being made” in the opioid epidemic. According to the agency, the turnaround is said to be due to multisector efforts at the federal, state, and local level. USA Today reports progress here in the form of awareness. In BC, it’s reported here that through the first eight months of 2019, there was a 33% decrease in illicit drug toxicity deaths over the same eight-month period in 2018 (690 vs 1,037). Fentanyl was detected in more than 85% of overdose deaths in BC in 2018 and 2019.
9. The American Psychiatric Association says anxiety levels jumped 7 per cent from 2017 to 2018. Will 2019 see a reduction in anxiety levels among the American general population?
No. For the second year in a row, about two in three Americans say they are extremely or somewhat anxious about keeping themselves and their family safe, paying bills, and their health, according to a new national poll here by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
10. Will 2019 see a reduction in anxiety levels among continent-wide lumber distributors?
A survey of at least one lumber distributor’s office personnel revealed that lumber traders’ cheerful, positive disposition has been subjected to anxiety levels at least comparable to the stresses of a year ago.
11. Will Canadian softwood lumber exports to China (dropping each year since 2014) continue to decline?
Yes. In discussions last week with Russ Taylor, Managing Director, FEA Canada, he reported while exports to China were up 5.7% in the first nine months of 2019 YOY, shipments slowed down significantly in Q2 and Q3 due to high inventories. Taylor projects Q4 shipments in 2019 to be off roughly 50% YOY, resulting in a 5-10% decline overall this year. “For 2020, I see further declines in Canadian softwood lumber exports to China. Not only are there reduced volumes of low grades from BC, the huge surge in European log exports from the massive salvage program (wind-damaged and beetle-killed) to China (about 6.5 million m3 expected in 2019 vs 1.5 million m3 in 2018) is expected to saturate the construction lumber market by lumber produced at domestic Chinese mills. Not only will this depress construction (low grade) lumber prices, the huge volumes of damaged European logs will also keep imported log prices at low levels. Already the BC Coast logging industry is shut down for cost and market reasons – the market reasons are the surge in European log shipments to China that have pushed higher priced (and costed) hemlock logs out of the China market.”
12. Will an old-growth protection strategy be established in B.C.?
Maybe next year. According to a BC government report Oct 23, “As part of government’s new approach to managing old growth in British Columbia, a two-person, independent panel is engaging British Columbians to get input and hear perspectives on managing the province’s old growth forests for ecological, economic, and cultural values.” In July, the government protected 54 old growth trees by placing a meagre buffer zone around each of them. The action, considered to be more symbolic than symbiotic here, was described by BC Forests Minister Doug Donaldson as “the first step in a broader old-growth plan.” The public, organizations, and professionals are encouraged to share their thoughts by January 31st here.
13. Will the accelerating rate of climate change evidenced in 2018 be exacerbated by global climate patterns experienced in 2019?
This week the Canadian Press dubbed climate change the news story of the year. The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change – such as sea level rise, ice loss, and extreme weather – increased during 2015-2019, which is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) here. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come. Alluding to the challenge of meeting emission targets in a report this week here, Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Change Action Network Canada states “If we continue to ignore the root cause of climate change – extraction and combustion of fossil fuels – we’re going to keep missing the mark.”
14. Will the U.S. repeat as the FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions?
Yes. The U.S. defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup match ever (82 million viewers). Over the 52 matches played in nine host cities across France, the average live match audience was over 17 million viewers, more than double the 8.39 million average of Canada in 2015.
15. Will the record number of homeless people identified in the City of Vancouver’s 2018 Homeless Count be broken again in 2019?
Sadly, yes. Volunteers counted 2,223 homeless people in the city this year, the highest number since the annual count began in 2005.
16. Will 2019 have seen an economic recession?
A recession is defined by a fall in trade and industrial activity in two successive quarters as measured by GDP. So while a UN flagship report in September signaled a slowing economy being fed largely by binge deficit spending, no ‘recession’ was declared in 2019. The UN’s trade and development body, Unctad, said 2019 will endure the weakest expansion in a decade and there was a risk of the slowdown turning into outright contraction in 2020. Source
17. Will Brexit status be significant in determining whether Britain is “better off” at the end of 2019 than at the end of 2018?
The majority Conservative electoral win earlier this month was significant to the degree that it allowed PM Boris Johnson to put in motion UK withdrawal Agreement from the EU set for January 31, when the post-Brexit transition period will begin. For 11 months, the UK will still follow all the EU’s rules and regulations; it will remain in the single market and the customs union, and the free movement of people will continue. The challenge for the government will be to get all its new rules and policies in place by the end of 2020. The answer as to whether or not Britain is “better off” remains unclear.
18. Will European lumber deliveries to the U.S. decline in 2019?
“Interesting dynamics here,” said Russ Taylor last week, with Q4 data TBD. “Through September 2019, European imports are 4.3% below the pace of 2018 and slowed down significantly in Q3 vs Q2 this year – probably as a result of weak US prices. However, with the China market getting over supplied and US lumber prices rising in Q4, I expect European imports to increase. If they matched Q4 levels in 2018, that would put them even with 2019. However, with a glut of moderate quality logs and rising US prices, I expect that Q4 European shipments will be up significantly over Q3 levels, and even higher than Q4 levels from 2018, resulting in a small increase for 2019. In our just-released Global Sawmill Cost Benchmarking Report, the cost structure of the German and Czech mills has dropped by US$100/MFBM due to lower log costs (and more at some mills), allowing for easy access to the US market at very profitable levels. So I expect Central European exports to soar in 2020, especially if lumber prices improve (FEA forecasts a 10% increase over 2019).”
19. In view of lower lumber prices, will we see movement in the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute?
No significant movement reported. When reached for comment, Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries, confirmed “Sadly no. Litigation will continue.”
Lumber Issues Unsettled
Issues concerned with the cross-border softwood dispute remain among critical questions facing BC’s lumber industry. A sellout crowd of 225 at yesterday’s annual North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) Vancouver Regional meeting heard updates on Canada’s litigation efforts to “vigorously defend the industry” through five separate challenges. A hearing scheduled next Tuesday on the challenge regarding injury is considered to be the most critical of three challenges with NAFTA, all deemed to be significantly more important than two challenges with the WTO ( “a retaliation mechanism”). Colin Barker, Director Softwood Lumber Division, Global Affairs Canada update report confirming dormant cross-border softwood negotiations echoed remarks by US ambassador David MacNaughton at the COFI Convention April 4th.
Provincial government perspectives were shared by Jennifer Burleigh, Director of the Trade and Export Policy Branch with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. On the heels of Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson’s “new model of forest management” discussion at the COFI Convention, she reiterated this provincial government’s “very different approach”. Burleigh noted both Donaldson and Premier John Horgan’s “strong passion for forestry” citing the Coast Revitalization initiative and the recently announced Interior process as examples. Softwood lumber meetings with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were tempered by acknowledgement of “no public interest” in the U.S.
COFI President and CEO Susan Yurkovich expanded on four challenges in BC’s forest sector today, specifically access to 1) fibre, 2) capital, 3) markets 4) talent. In accessing fibre, she noted increasing constraints on the timber harvesting land base. “We need to find a way to preserve the timber harvesting land base.” Yurkovich also expressed frustration with the punitive softwood lumber duties in the face of a lumber supply shortfall in the US: the lumber supply gap (“delta”) estimated at 14 billion FBM cannot be filled by domestic production.
Andy Rielly, President, Rielly Lumber Inc., and Chairman, Independent Wood Processors (IWPABC), and Executive Board Member, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, fired up the audience which included majority of IWPABC’s 58 member companies. With an eye to SLA negotiations, Rielly emphasized the influential role of associations (“you don’t need an agent until you need an agent”). He highlighted the “double-whammy” facing the value-added sector: 1) re-manners are independent, non-tenured, non-subsidy companies and 2) the punitive application of the AD/CVD on the selling/border price instead of the first mill price. The association is advocating for a negotiated settlement “sooner rather than later” under a transferable quota-based system, with allocation of quota not based solely on historical shipment volumes (“new jobs here in BC are not coming from the primary”).
O Christmas Tree
It’s a buoyant market… if you’re talking Christmas trees. On both sides of the 49th parallel, Christmas tree growers say that sales are on the right track this year.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, environmentally-conscious Millennials might be to thank. Both Canadian and U.S. tree farmers indicate it’s mostly younger couples who are fueling the optimism for green tree sales. “They’re coming in for the experience. It’s their first Christmas and they want to purchase a real Christmas tree.”
Bloomberg confirms it’s going to be a green Christmas for tree growers. With more buyers opting for pine over plastic, prices in the U.S. have surged 17% over the past two years. In the Great White North, growers point to $77 million annual sales, with approximately half their production heading to U.S. markets.
At our house, while the Christmas lights are up, ‘we’ usually prefer to wait until mid-December to buy a tree. Turns out our kids were paying close attention to the systematic setup of our neighbourhood tree lot this year. They pass the site daily when my wife drives them to and from school. Fencing went up couple weeks ago. Big tent popped up. Then activity seemed to stall. Suddenly this week, rows of crisscrossing 2×4’s appeared. Plywood walkways surfaced. Wednesday, colorful signage! On the way home yesterday, LIGHTS!! This morning, my phone rang early at the office. “Daddy, we’re thinking of buying our Christmas Tree now.”
Nudity and Heat Waves
We’re in for a heat wave. Wildfires threaten our woods, with B.C. Interior areas contemplating evacuation alert notices. It’s a stress-inducing situation that has even lumber traders wondering how to keep cool. Uniting in nudity is suggested as a solution by some. We read of a Newcastle, UK based marketing company who once decided to have a naked Friday, “to boost team spirit and improve employee morale.” Business psychologist David Taylor called it “the most extreme technique” he’s ever used. After a week of counselling and office activities aimed at building courage, most of the co-workers agreed to strip down to work in the buff for a day in an effort to boost production (and probably for a chance to be on TV). The ‘naked event’ is said to have turned around the company’s fortunes.
We’re told that Canada’s first and largest legal, clothing-optional beach, Vancouver’s Wreck Beach, is so crowded this week, there’s a lot of jostling going on to find room to park your fanny pack. It’s reported that at Wreck Beach, named among the world’s top 10 nude beaches, the atmosphere is very stress free. “When you shed your clothes, you shed the stress. It also helps you keep cool”. With lumber prices continuing to peel off this week, it may have some traders dedicated to serving supplier and customer needs from behind office desks wondering.
Wooden It Be Loverly
“Wooden it be loverly”, words from My Fair Lady ring true to a lumber trader’s ear.. even though Professor Henry Higgins may say it’s meant to say “wouldn’t”.
Today, another ‘would‘-related story is music to our ears (see: Guitar maker champions use of local woods).
It’s the Vancouver International Guitar Festival, upcoming in early August. The Vancouver Sun reports that some of the world’s top luthiers will be on hand “to present guitars crafted entirely from local BC woods such as Sitka spruce, red cedar, curly maple – perhaps even reclaimed or salvaged woods.”
The “local wood challenge” holds particular interest here in BC, which reportedly supplies 80 per cent of the tone wood to the global guitar market. While Englemann and Sitka spruce are two of the province’s most sought-after species, Dave Nadin of Bow River woods in Chilliwack notes a growing interest in other domestic woods.
It’s reported that while earlier guitar shows highlighted flashier guitars made of rosewood and mahogany, demand for locally-sourced wood is on the rise with an eye to sustainability and protection of natural resources. We’re told it’s the way of the future. Meanwhile, as long as Willie’n the boys make music, would or wouldn’t not guitar afficionados trust the chords to ring true, no matter what lumber’s in play.
Images from a family hike in the woods last week at beautiful Golden Ears Provincial Park: