The North American lumber market experienced a wild ride in 2017. Despite new US legislation imposing tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, North American lumber remains in high demand as confirmed by Madison’s Lumber Reporter, which shows steep price increases for benchmark products during 2017 as noted in the chart below.
SOURCE: Madison’s Lumber Reporter www.madisonsreport.com
Forest2Market’s composite southern yellow pine (SYP) lumber price index confirms that SYP prices also finished 2017 with a bang; prices during week 52 inched up just above the $415/mbf mark. As we put 2017 in the rearview mirror and begin a new year (and the formal slowdown in new construction projects amid record cold temps throughout much of North America) prices have remained fairly steady since mid-October.
Week 52’s price was 7 percent above its January 2017 starting point of $387/mbf, and 9 percent above its 2016 week 52 price of $381/mbf. Other price trends for 2017 include:
- 1Q2017 Average Price: $401/mbf (+19 percent over 1Q2016)
- 2Q2017 Average Price: $410/mbf (+4 percent over 2Q2016)
- 3Q2017 Average Price: $383/mbf (+1 percent over 3Q2016)
- 4Q2017 Average Price: $411/mbf (+8 percent over 4Q2016)
- 2017 Average Price: $401/mbf (+8 percent over 2016)
In the SYP Kiln Dried lumber price chart below, notice the fairly volatile price performance throughout much of 2017. However, also notice the two sustained runs above the $400/mbf mark, which sets 2017 apart compared to data from recent years.
From a high of $440/mbf in April to a low of $368/mbf in July (a change of 20 percent), SYP lumber prices fluctuated pretty regularly within that range and only dropped below the $400/mbf mark for a sustained period in 3Q2017. The chart below details these prices (low price, peak price, average price) and percentage difference (between the low and high prices) from 2013 - 2017.