Opening reception with exhibitors at the WWPA meeting.
Opening reception with exhibitors at the WWPA meeting.

NARA participated as an exhibitor at the WWPA annual meeting last weekend in Portland Oregon. This event brings together lumber company, supplier and wood retailer representatives throughout the U.S. and offered a good opportunity for NARA to provide information and receive feedback.

Twelve exhibit tables accompanied a reception featuring a hosted bar with fine hors d’oeuvres. The good food and beverage brought a large festive crowd and some came by the NARA booth.  NARA’s information was a unique addition to the exhibitor choices featuring mostly equipment and service providers.

Log and lumber demand

Conference speakers included Kevin Binam, WWPA President and Chief Economist. He provided an outlook on lumber demand and supply for the years 2014-2016. From a low of ~$300 MBF (1000 board feet) delivered in 2009, the price for Oregon Douglas-fir logs has risen to ~$700 MBF in late 2013 and is back to price levels established in 2005. In fact, the growth of U.S. log exports rose 20% and lumber exports rose 31% in the span from 2010 to 2013. Lumber production in the western U.S. is anticipated to grow by 13% between 2012 and 2016.

Housing and construction

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Hanley Wood LLC, suggested that 2014 is poised to be the strongest year in residential spending in 7 years. The number of existing home sales in 2013 were well above the 50 year average; however, new home sales, while up from a low in 2010, are well below average. New construction grew by 18% in 2013 over 2012 numbers.

Considering the improved conditions for the housing market and for logs and lumber, timber harvest (and consequently residual supply) should be high for the next few years.