Quebec Business Trends – January 2023

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Businesses in the Hardwood sector are hopeful for a new year that will see them meeting the challenges of doing business in a competitive atmosphere, with prices stabilizing along with a renewed demand for Hardwood products. The industry has been innovative these past several years as they faced COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and will continue to innovate to improve business opportunities both on domestic and international markets.

Some companies pointed out they had fair to decent business over the last two months of 2022, such as the moulding and millwork operations and the truck trailer flooring manufacturers. Most end users and wholesalers advised they had ample inventories and were not in a rush to make additional purchases as prices trended lower. Demand for individual species were mixed with many items being reported to be in decent or at good levels, while others were not selling as well. Some noted that Ash and Hickory, with crossties and pallet cants being mentioned as best sellers, while Red and White Oak, Cherry, Hard and Soft Maple, and board road were listed as slow to poor sellers in Ontario, Quebec and along their U.S. border states.

The regionally important Hard Maple continues to see an imbalance since mid-2022 in supply and demand. Wholesalers have ample kiln-dried inventories as do the end users. As such, these market forces are still driving down prices.

Soft Maple is not faring well on markets at this time. With an over production of sawmill and kiln-dried stocks available through the spring and summer of 2022, which when it went to market, demand slowed drastically for this species. Soft Maple continues to be cabinet manufacturers’ favored species, however, they have ample supplies on hand at this time, and are dealing with lackluster sales themselves as the housing market in both the U.S. and Canada has slowed down. Thus prices have also eroded for this species.

Sawmills say they need to work harder to sell green Ash lumber than before, although a show in flexible pricing was resulting in moving developing production. On export markets, The Far East showed less interest in White and Red Oak, however, interest in Ash continues.

China continues its interest in Cherry, but demand for this species is off. Sales of Cherry to China are mostly with established buyers, noted contacts. Sawmills and kiln-drying operations have thus reduced processing this species. Supplies are ample to meet current demand.

Despite our many challenges both here and globally, we extend best wishes to all for a healthy and Happy New Year!

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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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