U.S. housing markets will continue to improve with the economy, though not at the rapid pace of recent months. However, hardwood lumber exports to Asia and Mexico will continue to outpace 2012 levels, offsetting any impacts of slower housing.
In March 2013, U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled 111 million board feet, 3% below Feb 2013 and 1% below March 2012. Combined shipments to non-Chinese destinations increased 6% in March, but shipments to China slid 15% as some Chinese buyers didn’t re-enter the purchasing arena immediately after Chinese New Year. However, they are now back in the market and purchasing large volumes of lumber.