Southeast Business Trends

Jan/Feb Issue

Share this...

Sources in the Southeast are reporting a busy market. In Alabama, one source described the market as having “gone crazy.”

“Just up, up and up,” he commented.

When asked how supply compared with demand, he replied, “Supply is horrible. You can’t get things covered.” He compared current conditions to how it was in the spring and summer when he couldn’t stock any of the Southern Yellow Pine or Spruce that his business handles. “It’s going back to that again,” he explained.

This source’s customers are end-use manufacturers and are reportedly not happy about current prices. When asked about transportation costs, the source said “Oh, we’re fighting that, too. The prices have gone up a lot with the shortage of trucks and drivers.”

When asked his predictions for the coming months, the source replied, “We might be this way for three more months. Maybe three to five more months. I just don’t know. That’s the million-dollar question. When you find that out, you let me know.”

In Mississippi, a different source reported that supply is very hard to find. “There’s hardly anything left,” he explained. 

The source described business as similar to a few months ago where prices are higher than normal. “Things are pretty much the same,” he stated. “If you’ve got something, you can sell it.”

His business handles Southern Yellow Pine 2x4s through 2x12s and sells primarily to pallet manufacturers. “Everybody’s screaming about pricing, but when we get something we sell it just as quickly,” he said.

“I don’t think this is going to change anytime soon,” he added.

In Arkansas, a different source reported that the market has ramped up within just the last week. “Everyone’s worried about availability for the first quarter. The frenzy is getting back to COVID-times, essentially,” he said.

“There’s not nearly enough supply for the demand at this point in time,” he added. “The demand is far outpacing supply by a long shot to the point where it’s almost Name Your Price again.” 

This source’s business handles Yellow Pine. He described business as much better now than two to three months ago. “Prices are double,” he explained. 

“Traditionally, for this time of the year, the market starts to slow down with the holidays and the weather, but the weather is still in favor of building,” he said. “We have a lot of transportation issues out of Canada for wood coming out of the markets. There are people who traditionally buy Spruce that are looking to source any fiber in place of, and everyone’s also trying to cover their first-quarter needs. 

“So, right now you have the perfect storm of every sector that uses lumber trying to buy out of a small basket. At this time of the year, you get scheduled maintenance shutdowns at the mills, so there’s a lot less production and supply on the market. The demand is through the roof and we’re getting orders without even giving a price. We just tell people that we have the material and then it’s sold.”

This source’s business sells to end-use manufacturers, distributors, treaters, industrials, retail yards, and more. 

When asked about transportation, the source replied, “It’s still been tough, but it’s not been any different than it has been all year. Rates are up, diesel’s up, and there’s a shortage of drivers. You just have to depend on your relationships with your drivers that you do have. With the lumber market, traditionally, rates would go down this time of year, and they still haven’t.

“I think it’s going to be a strong first-quarter,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people waiting to see what happens especially after the beginning of the new year. Housing is still very strong. I think there will be strong trading.” 

By Matthew Fite

Matthew Fite Staff Writer Miller Wood Trade Publications

Share This
Related Articles