European demand improved slightly in May, as many buyers restocked near-empty warehouses. Still, volumes were well below historic averages. Hardwood markets remained difficult in Italy, Spain and Portugal, with unemployment rising, new home construction falling, and credit tight. However, inventory replenishment activity pushed demand up slightly. British purchasing leveled off due to heavy resistance to price increases. German demand for high-end lumber was fairly good.
Contacts in Mexico reported seasonally slower wood products manufacturing activity but gave mixed reports about hardwood demand.