Southeast Business Trends – May 2023

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Throughout the Southeast region there seems to be mixed opinions on how the market is doing at the time of this writing. One source said that his sales aren’t doing very well, while other sources have said that their sales are up.

In Kentucky a lumber spokesperson said that his sales were not doing well. “We can’t sell anything and it’s dirt cheap when we do,” he commented. He also noted that despite prices being low his sales are looking better than they were six months ago.

His company handles all domestic Hardwood species in all grades with thicknesses of 4/4 and 5/4 and some occasional 8/4. “Walnut and Red Oak seem to be selling the best right now,” he said.

He mentioned that his company sells to a variety of customers including flooring and cabinet manufacturers. “I haven’t really heard many comments from my customers lately. I suspect that they want to buy lumber right now because it’s so cheap,” he commented.

His company isn’t currently having issues with transportation.
A sawmill representative in Tennessee said that the market in his area has picked up from where it was the last quarter of 2022. “Lumber seems to be moving a lot better than it was six months ago,” he noted. He went on to say that he thought that the uptick in movement that his company has seen is most likely due to the lack of supply, at the time of this writing.

His company handles all major Appalachian species, including, Red and White Oak, Hickory, Hard and Soft Maple, Cherry, Poplar and Ash. “We handle grades Face and Better, No. 1 and 2 Common in all species and No. 3A Common in Red and White Oak. We cut Poplar in 4/4-6/4 thickness, White Oak 4/4 and 6/4 thicknesses and all our other species are cut in 4/4 thickness,” he said, mentioning that there isn’t one particular species that is selling better than another.

His company sells to distribution yards, moulding and trim companies, flooring manufacturers and brokers. “They seem to be hanging on to the hope that the market is currently doing better. They are a little bit skeptical of the future and once production starts to pick up that their sales will slow,” he said.

His company hasn’t had any issues with transportation since they have a small fleet of their own trucks. “We run trucks to haul logs back to the mill and to pick up green lumber. We probably have five trucks that handle delivering the kiln-dried lumber and grade lumber,” he noted. He also said that he often gets calls from people daily that are trying to help with freight.

In Georgia, a lumber salesman said that his sales are trending up. “Our sales are better than they were six months ago. The last six months of 2022 we were trying to create new markets and switch back from the export markets to the domestic market. Our sales really started moving at the beginning of the year,” he said.

His company handles Red and White Oak, Poplar, Ash, Soft Maple and Cherry in grades FAS to pallet lumber and in thicknesses of 4/4, 5/4, 8/4 and 10/4.

His company sells to Hardwood distribution yards, end-use manufacturers and flooring plants. “I haven’t heard any direct comments from my customers on how their sales are but I can assume that they are doing better. My inventory is moving and I am able to be more particular on what price I sell my products for,” he commented.

He said that his company is still having some issues with transportation, but they aren’t as challenging as they were this time last year. “My customers have just had to come to the realization that they are going to have to pay freight bills if they want to buy lumber,” he continued.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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