Lumber demand expected to increase

Articles in a variety of newspapers and online sources are calling timber the “commodity du jour” for 2013

Central Interior Logging Association

Articles in a variety of newspapers and online sources are calling timber the “commodity du jour” for 2013. According to (Jan 2/13), “Lumber has rallied to its highest level in more than six years, with the price of framing lumber – the kind used in new homes – hitting $373 per 1,000 board-feet. Overall, framing lumber prices jumped by 38 per cent in 2012. Chicago Mercantile Exchange lumber futures rallied 43 per cent during the year.

Those gains have pushed lumber to the top of the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index. Yet, there are plenty of reasons to be bullish in 2013 and beyond. With analysts predicting a new “super-cycle” brewing for forest products in the years ahead, there’s plenty of time to cash in on timber’s long-term appeal.” noted (Jan 2) that, while there is an increased demand for lumber with the increase in U.S. housing starts, producers can’t just ramp up production, because they “… don’t have the labor to boost output, due to a lost half-decade of career starts and the drift of forest workers to the mining and energy sectors”.

Indeed, the labor capacity issue has caught timber investors’ attention. CILA executive director MaryAnne Arcand has been asked to speak to the IQPC’s Timberland Investment World Summit in New York on Jan. 30. This summit is the premier meeting of the year for investment opportunities in the timberland asset class. She has been asked to address the issue of the shortage of loggers within the industry, the impact loggers will have on going from 600,000 housing starts to 1.5 million in the US, and training issues.

In May 2012, the Forest Products Association of Canada launched its Vision 2020, which publicly articulated a goal of recruiting 60,000 workers into the forest products industry by 2020. To support this, on Feb. 6 FPAC will launch a new online forest products recruitment initiative called The website is filled with targeted information, such as industry-specific career information, job profiles, video testimonials, and links to company job sites, for those seeking employment in Canada’s forest products sector.