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High lumber production reported

The improved housing market has been good news for many sawmills in North America, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Lumber production has been higher throughout the continent, with an increase of 7.3 percent in August year-over-year in the U.S., and 6.3 percent in Canada during the same time period, according to the quarterly’s recent report.

The improved U.S. housing market has resulted not only in higher domestic lumber production, but also in an increase in the importation of lumber. Softwood lumber imports in the third quarter of 2012 were up 9 percent from the previous quarter, which was the highest quarterly import volume since the second quarter of 2010.

However, saw log prices have not yet gone up as a result of the improved lumber market. Pine log prices across the South have been practically unchanged for almost two years and saw log prices in the Northwest have been surprisingly flat for more than a year. In early November, there was increased upward pressure on saw logs prices in the West from Chinese log buyers that were more active in the market than earlier in the year.

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