West Coast Business Trends

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On the West Coast, different sources provided insights into their market situations. Two sources mentioned average and steady business conditions, while another noted some inconsistency in their markets.

In Washington, a hardwood salesman reported that his markets show inconsistency, with one week being different from the next.

“Things are very sporadic. We will have a week or two where we are busy then will have a few weeks where it is just dead. There is no consistency in my markets right now that’s for sure. White Oak is doing good for us but it’s not just all the White Oak that has some demand. For us it seems like a lot of people just want wider width poles.

They are not looking for the random and the narrow boards. A lot of these higher end flooring people are looking for 8 and 9 inch and wider boards,” he commented.

The species he sells include Hard and Soft Maple, Poplar, Red and White Oak, Beech, Alder and Hickory in all thicknesses but mostly 4/4 in Select and Better, No. 1 Common and No. 2 Common.

He sells to both end users and distribution yards and commented, “It is really hand to mouth. A lot of them want to be optimistic and it’s not all doom and gloom but it’s just month to month. Their order files aren’t what they were last year and the year before. Interest rates are starting to affect some of my customers because the credit lines are starting to put a little bit of a squeeze on them.”

In California, business activity is a little different and has been steady for one hardwood representative, with no major complaints to note. He did mention that the recent hot weather has had a slight impact on slowing down some orders, but it hasn’t been too serious of an issue.

The hardwoods his company handles include Walnut, White Oak, and Hickory in FAS No. 1 and No. 2 Common.

He sells to distributors and end users and commented, “Everything is pretty much order to order. Guys are not ordering the lumber until they have the order. No one wants a lot of inventory but when they do get it, they will call you up and want the order now. We have an ongoing inventory here and that’s what you must do in this region.”

Labor and any other outside factors were not an issue for him at the time of this writing.

In Oregon, a hardwood supplier characterized his markets as “average.” Like other sources across the country, he is experiencing success with his White Oak sales.

When asked about his markets he commented, “It’s about average right now. White Oak is very strong and Rift White Oak is doing good. The prices of that remain strong and it has a good demand.”

He handles all domestic hardwoods and some exotic in 4/4 with some 12/4 and 16/4 in primarily Select and Better.

His company sells lumber to distribution yards, manufacturers, and end users. “They are staying busy. A few smaller customers are starting to look for work which is a little bit odd but most of the businesses I talk with are doing pretty good but overall I would just say things are average,” he added.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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