Northeast Business Trends – June 2023

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Across the Northeast region there seems to be a mixed bag on how Hardwood lumber sales were varying, at the time of this writing.

In Maine a sawmill representative said that his sales have been poor. “There is lack of demand, and there is over supply. I don’t think that sales will change for quite a while. As far as I can tell everyone is waiting to see what the summer brings and that is usually a quiet time, even in the best of markets,” he said.

He noted that despite his sales being poor they are better than they were six months ago. “Lumber seems to be moving, but the pricing is a lot different than it was,” he continued.

His company handles Hard and Soft Maple, Yellow Birch and Ash in all grades from pallet to prime and in thicknesses 4/4-8/4. He mentioned that Yellow Birch is selling the best for them right now.

He said that his company sells to end users, such as furniture, kitchen cabinet and flooring manufacturers, as well as distribution yards, brokers and wholesalers, and pallet manufacturers and railway tie purchasing agents. “The distribution yards are busy, not as busy as they would like, but busy. The kitchen cabinet and flooring manufacturers are quiet. The brokers and wholesalers are somewhat busy, they are having to call around to find the best price. I’ve noticed the pallet manufacturers are slowing down and the railway tie buyers are clamoring for more ties,” he went on.

When asked if he was having trouble with labor, he said that his mill will always have difficulties in that regard as his mill is in a remote part of the state. As for transportation he said that he is getting calls left and right from trucking companies looking for business.

“We’ve been through this before and we’ll come out of it,” he remarked.

A spokesperson for a sawmill in Pennsylvania said that he just recently saw a very good month of shipments for both the domestic and export markets. “This next month seems like it is going to be a little bit more of a wait and see approach for where the market is headed and how our sales are going to be,” he said.

He said that his company is doing better than it was six months ago but that they aren’t able to find a good cadence as they are experiencing a series of hills and valleys in regard to their sales. “We need people to use more real American Hardwoods and not substitutes,” he noted.

His company handles Red Oak, Hard and Soft Maple, Cherry, Ash, Poplar and Hickory in grades FAS and No. 1 Common and in thicknesses 4/4-8/4. “We aren’t seeing any species outshine another right now,” he mentioned.

“We sell to distributors and manufacturers and their markets are moving. They seem to be in the same predicament we are, and they aren’t sure where their sales will go,” he said.

His company isn’t having issues with transportation, at the time of this writing.

In New York a lumber representative said that his market is medium. “I want to say our sales are worse than they were six months ago. Our sales to the Chinese and domestic markets are slowing,” he remarked.

His company handles Red and White Oak in all grades and thicknesses with White Oak being his best seller.

He mentioned that his company sells to Hardwood distributors and end users, and they haven’t offered any comments as to how their sales have been doing.

He also noted that his company isn’t having issues with transportation or labor.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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