Housing Starts Edge Up, SYP Prices Remain Strong in July

Posted by John Greene on August 24, 2016

Housing starts continued to inch upward in July, as southern yellow pine (SYP) lumber maintained the high price it has commanded since early April. Demand for housing—both new and previously-owned—remains robust enough to drive the prices of already-short inventories out of reach for many buyers. Given the pervasive sense of market uncertainty that we covered last month, this trend is positive news for a sector that has, for the most part, continued to perform since being devastated during the Great Recession of 2008.

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Topics: southern pine lumber, housing market update, southern yellow pine prices, housing starts

Return to Log: How Sawmills Determine a Log’s Value

Posted by Joe Clark on August 23, 2016

Sawmill owners and managers are continually striving to maximize the profit made from each log purchased in order to outcompete other sawmills. A simple prescription for this is to keep raw material costs as low as possible while maximizing sales; it’s manufacturing 101, but as the old saying goes, “it’s easier said than done.”

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Topics: supply chain, supply chain optimization, wood supply, sawmill log procurement, sawmill logs costs, return to log

Working Forests vs. Solar Farms: Environmentalists Can’t Have It Both Ways

Posted by John Greene on August 22, 2016

The fickle nature of anti-forestry environmentalists causes them great difficulty in grasping the fact that energy production is not a zero-sum endeavor. There are both positive and negative costs associated with generating the power we all use, regardless of the system and resource used to generate it. While we can generally agree that environmental stewardship should remain a top-of-mind concern when planning for new energy projects, the gradations of “good” and “bad” feedstocks in the minds of environmentalists result in very rigid, unrealistic thinking about energy production.

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Topics: forest sustainability, wood bioenergy, Renewable Electricity Standard, biomass, forest ownership, renewable energy growth, northeast pulpwood, forest industry trends, working forests, biomass electricity

Forest Industry Performance: July 2016

Posted by Joe Clark on August 16, 2016

Forest industry performance in June and July was recently reported by both the US government and the Institute for Supply Management.

Total industrial production (IP) increased 0.6 percent in June, the fastest rise in eleven months. Total IP was -0.7 percent YoY, however, the tenth consecutive month of YoY declines. For 2Q as a whole, IP fell at an annual rate of 1.0 percent, its third consecutive quarterly decline. Manufacturing output moved up 0.5 percent in June, primarily on the strength of motor vehicle assemblies (MVA). Excluding MVAs, manufacturing IP was unchanged.

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Topics: forest industry news, forest industry performance

Put the Pedal to the Wood: New Biomaterials Produced from Forest Resources

Posted by John Greene on August 12, 2016

As the pace of new technology quickens and continues to generate viable market opportunities for biochemicals, biofuels and other biobased products, wood raw materials will play an important role as an abundant, flexible and valuable feedstock. We recently reported on the breakthrough from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology in the development of wood-based windows and solar panels, and a recent report confirms that researchers at Clemson University are eying a totally new market for biomaterials produced from forest residues: auto parts.

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Topics: forest industry news, Biobased Products, biomaterials, biochemicals, wood raw materials

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