Throughout the Southeast region there were mixed reviews as to how the market was faring, at the time of this writing. Some sources said that the market was extremely strong, while others have said that their sales were not doing well.
An Arkansan lumber spokesperson said that his market seemed to be picking up. “It’s not because of how well the economy is doing, it’s due to the supply and demand,” he noted. “We are worse than we were six months ago due to inflation and interest rates. Lumber prices were better six months ago,” he added.
His company handles rough green Red and White Oak, Gum and Hickory in all grades and in 1-inch and 5/4 thicknesses.
“We sell to flooring and moulding manufacturers. They seem to be slow right now,” he remarked, adding that he thought that their lack of business was due to the high interest rates causing people to borrow less money.
When asked if transportation was an issue, he said that it has gotten better than it was six months to a year ago. “Labor is still a day-to-day issue,” he remarked.
In Alabama a lumberman said, “Our market isn’t so great right now. It’s hard to move lumber and the prices aren’t where they need to be. We are doing slightly better than we were six months ago though.”
His company handles Red and White Oak, Poplar and Ash in grades FAS and No. 2 Common, as well as kiln-dried, in thicknesses 4/4-6/4. “I’ve seen an up-tick in 5/4 Red Oak FAS and White Oak FAS is still holding its own even though the price has dropped,” he noted.
He said that his company sells to brokers, distribution yards and exports to China, Mexico and the UK. “Sales are slow in China but it’s slow basically everywhere,” he remarked.
He mentioned that his company has received more calls on transportation than they have in the past eight months.
A sawmill representative in Kentucky said that his sales have been extremely strong. “My sales are doing much better than they were six months ago,” he added.
His company handles Basswood, Cherry, Hickory, Red and White Oak, Hard and Soft Maple and Poplar in grades No. 1 Common and Better. He said his dominant species are Red and White Oak and Poplar and that he will cut these in 4/4 and 5/4, while he will only cut the other species in 4/4.
He said that his company sells to every kind of customer. “My export sales, in general, are more to distributors, with the occasional end user. On the domestic front we primarily sell to end users.”
“Fortunately, we have enough of our own trucks to make our just in time deliveries. I will contract truckers for items that ship on a heavy volume. I will contract that work out and as of now that pressure has, for the most part, been diminished as compared to a year ago,” he noted.
He also mentioned that he has noticed that there is a significant parts shortage. “I mean it’s even just standard parts like a bearing that we would typically run down to an industrial store to pick up and if they don’t have it we are out 80-90 days. So, we have started to stock up on certain parts based on when we think they may go out. The part might not need to be replaced for a year, but we will have it when it does need to be replaced.”