Quebec/Ontario Business Trends

Nov/Dec Issue

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By Richard Lipman
Guest Writer

“The market is generally good all around, for all grades and in all sectors, meaning the U.S. and eastern Canada,” said a Quebec producer. This was echoed by an Ontario manufacturer, who offered that, “The markets are solid, and after the 12 weeks of downturn, people waited until the very last minute to replenish. The pipeline was dry and the mill’s yard was dry. The mills did not have as much wood as people thought we would. We did keep selling along the way, so when things picked up, companies have been able to accumulate an order file. We are back to selling anywhere between two to five weeks ahead, depending on the items. Order files of four weeks out for key items, like 2×4 and 2×6 on No. 2 and No. 3 are not uncommon. I don’t know a lot about the western 8, 10 and 12-inch material, but it seems to be relatively good as well.” 

Noted an Ontario wholesaler, “We don’t see any easing off until December at this point. I don’t think it is going to be a runaway train by any means, but the market seems to be creeping up anywhere between $10-25 per week on most items, depending on the items.” 

Looking at the short term, one Quebec manufacturer reported, “I think 2×4 and 2×6 should continue strong until at least December. It will likely slow down in December, and we are already working on November, so with that being the case we should be in good shape for November and who knows what December is going to bring. I would anticipate a bit of a slowdown.” 

“There were no big impacts this season from weather and fire in eastern Canada,” noted an Ontario-based wholesaler. “We have seen some fire in Ontario but I do not think it has affected the mills that I know of. There have been fires, but it has not been as dramatic as BC. I don’t think there are any log issues this fall to the best of my knowledge. Everyone has been able to access their logs or put them on the roadside. Most log decks are relatively good here in this province so I think the situation is pretty good.” 

On the Pine side, a Quebec producer’s quick summary was that “demand is still good and prices are still firm. We did not see same softening in White Pine as the Spruce market experienced.” 

A Quebec wholesaler confirmed, “Prices are still firm, and I don’t think anyone has had to make any real concessions just yet.” 

An Ontario manufacturer noted, “The benchmark prices that were going up on raw materials have steadied and there is a good chance that we won’t see any further increases, at least in the immediate period anyway. To my knowledge they were using the U.S. price on the standard grades, and on random lengths as a benchmark to justify the increases here. A mill consortium got together with the Ministry and there was a bit of reduction, so I think it has stabilized. This is more for the Red Pine (and Spruce), not so much on the White Pine, but you know we have not seen the increases per month being levied against the White Pine like it was earlier, so it stabilized a little bit.” 

An Ontario wholesaler cautioned that “Back when the Spruce and the Red Pine was priced up through the roof in the industrial grades, some were using White Pine as an alternative because it was a less expensive product. That may be the only thing we may see down the road here that with the softening of the Spruce and the Red Pine that they wouldn’t need to go to the Pine as an alternative supply. So you may see some of the industrial grade slide a little bit as far as the price goes.” 

One Quebec wholesaler added that “There is not a whole lot of product out there, so it might hold alright.” 

Regarding White Pine grades, an Ontario producer reported that “really all the pattern work and the interior and exterior siding and panelling—that all is in a very high demand. Even the boards are still moving quite well. The wide boards for sidings and for barn boards are in good demand, so there is really nothing that is a ‘dog’ out there; everything seems to be moving not too badly.” 

A Quebec wholesaler felt that “prices should probably hold right through until the new year. It is all based on production and while the production has not increased it has not decreased either.” 

“Demand is still there, people are looking to get products,” said a Quebec-based wholesaler. 

An Ontario wholesaler reported, “Some are having a hard time getting serviced, as trucking is causing some grief out there. Just trying to get everyone serviced can be challenging and there have been delays, which has certainly annoyed so many people. But it is what it is and maybe it is a good eye-opener for them too. They have kind of been spoiled over the last many years for most or all of us.” 

One Ontario producer noted, “It was a decent season from both a weather and a fire perspective. The log supply is going to be ok. Looking ahead, if we get into a mild winter with a lot of snow, that could create a good deal of grief out there on the logging end of things. Obviously, you won’t have the frost on the ground and you are trying to log in the mud and that doesn’t work very well. It affects the roads and creates all kind of problems.” 

Concluded an Ontario producer, “For the time being, things are still quite positive. I don’t think anyone is complaining. They are able to recoup their increased costs due to the raw materials and able to pass it on. It is not like the mills are making money hand over first. We are just trying to recoup what we have had to pay.” 

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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