Market Update – June 2023

The past 30 days in the lumber market have been fairly uneventful as demand for wood has remained lackluster. Reloads and distributors also have some wood on the ground putting additional pressure on the mills for market share. Some consequences of the fires in Canada have started to show some impact as trucking, rail and logging are beginning to experience delays. But considering the overall economy along with interest rates, buyers remain in a guarded position. Southern yellow pine supply remains more of a challenge, especially in the wider boards, allowing those mills to remain at high levels. OSB manufacturers are still offering little wood on the cash market and order files are out to the middle of July for most mills. Locating and hiring qualified employees, especially CDL drivers, continues to be a challenge within our industry. Many of the issues we still see in lead times from many of our suppliers are due to their inability to keep a full manufacturing staff. It’s extremely frustrating to exert the effort and cost of hiring and training someone, only to have them quit after a very short time. Purchasing new equipment is also an exercise in frustration. Forklifts and trucks have typically had a one to two year lead time since even before the pandemic. Big C has had to make some difficult choices in whether we can realistically offer some products and services to the quality level that our customers expect. Drywall has especially been a challenge and we continue to do everything we can to meet everyone’s needs. But between having the booms along with drivers qualified to operate them, it’s not a problem that can be solved overnight, if even at all. The issues we all face have evolved to an extent that few of us would have predicted 30 years ago.