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US Housing Starts March and Softwood Lumber Prices April: 2021

US Housing Starts March and Softwood Lumber Prices April: 2021

US Housing Total and 1-Unit Starts March & Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices April 2021

WSPF-SYP-ESPF-2x4 Softwood Lumber Prices-2 year-US Housing Total & 1-Unit STARTS: MARCH 2021
madisonsreport.com

This year started off with a very harsh winter, which kept construction and building activity down in January and February. March housing starts across North America show a significant rebound; something Madison’s expected, due to a big jump in permits in the January data. Usually it takes two months for new housing authorizations to actually break ground, so these increases in March housing starts should be no surprise.

Shrewd investors know that construction framing softwood lumber prices are a good leading indicator for US housing activity, including home building and home sales. Don’t miss out, get lumber price data updates directly to your desktop every Friday morning.

Compared to March 2020 total residential starts in the US last month shot up by +37% to a 1.74 million annualized rate, from 1.27 in the same month one year ago. Surpassing even the sharp rises in February, permits for future homebuilding increased spectacularly compared to one year ago, up by +30% to a rate of 1.77 million units last month compared to March 2020 when it was 1.36 million.
March starts of single-family housing, the largest share of the market and construction method which uses the most wood, flew up by +37% compared to March 2020, at 1.24 million. Once again providing good indication for an increase in near-term future home building, single-family permits, meanwhile, were at 1.2 million, a significant jump of +36% compared to the same month last year.

Benchmark Softwood Lumber Commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir Price: April 2021

Western Spruce-Pine-FIr KD 2x4 #2&Btr prices APR 2021
madisonsreport.com

As for lumber prices, after reaching the seemingly unbelievable level of US$1,060, in the week ending April 2, 2021, the wholesaler price of benchmark softwood lumber commodity item Western S-P-F KD 2×4 #2&Btr was US$1,130 mfbm for the week ending April 9. This is up by +$70, or +6%, from the previous week.
That week’s price is up by +$90, or +9%, from one month ago when it was $1,040.

Madison’s Lumber Prices, weekly, are a good forecast indicator of US home builder’s current lumber buying activity ——> DETAILS

Compared to the price one-year-ago, when it was US$310 mfbm, the benchmark lumber price for the week ending April 9 is up by +$820, or +265%.
Compared to two years’ ago when it was $348, that week’s price is up by +$782, or +225%.

US Housing 1-Unit Starts & Permits March and Benchmark Softwood Lumber Prices April 2021

WSPF-SYP-ESPF-2x4 Softwood Lumber Prices-2 year-US Housing 1-Unit STARTS & PERMITS: MARCH 2021
madisonsreport.com

STAY AHEAD of US housing data by getting access to softwood lumber prices. Released every Friday for that week, since 1952 Madison’s Lumber Prices is used by the forest products industry as a price guide for North American construction framing dimension softwood lumber.
These are, of course, the inputs into US and Canadian home building materials.

Canada and US Railcar Loadings: March 2021

Canada and US Railcar Loadings: March 2021

Total US carload traffic for the first 3 months of 2021 was 2,911,097 carloads, down -2.6%, or 77,267 carloads, from the same period last year; and 3,619,546 intermodal units, up +13.2%, or 421,513 containers and trailers, from last year.

US Railcar Loadings, Lumber & Wood Products: MAR 2021
yardeni.com

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported April 7 US and Canadian rail traffic volumes for March 2021.
After major declines in February, US railroads originated 1,156,158 carloads in March, up +4.1%, or 45,504 units, from March 2020. US railroads also originated 1,430,331 containers and trailers in March, up +24%, or 276,781 units, from the same month last year.

Railcar Loadings, US: MAR 2021
US AAR

Total combined US traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2021 was 6,530,643 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of +5.6% compared to last year.

Railcar Loadings, CANADA: MAR 2021
US AAR

Regarding North American rail volume for the week ending April 14, 2021, Canadian railroads reported 79,509 carloads for the week, up +7.7%, and 75,499 intermodal units, up +14.4% compared with the same week in 2020.

For the first 14 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,120,832 carloads, containers and trailers, up +6.9%.

Global shortage of wood products may become worse

Although the temporary blockade of the Suez Canal last month interrupted global trade, the supply chain problems have become more serious. Next, construction products and materials are expected to have more shortages, longer delivery times and higher prices.

In a joint statement, the UK Construction Industry Leadership Council issued the following warnings to the industry:

“In the UK and globally, the demand for construction wood products is still high, and demand in all areas will continue throughout 2021. Unfortunately, this means that our current usability problems may worsen before they improve. Imported products such as wood, steel, roof tiles and bricks have been added to the list of existing products that are in short supply.

Before the Suez Canal was temporarily blocked, we found that the container cost and delivery time of these imported goods were slightly reduced. We expect that this situation will continue once the effects of the temporary closure continue.

In the foreseeable future, timber imports will be a problem. Timber production is not enough to meet world demand. In addition, other countries are also preparing to pay higher prices to ensure supply, which makes the UK’s ranking drop.

All users should plan for increased demand and longer delays, maintain open communication channels with suppliers, and order as soon as possible for future projects.”

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Homag plans largest investment in its history

The Homag Group has launched the largest investment program in its corporate history.

Over the next three years, €60 to €80 million are to be invested in the modernization of the main location in Schopfloch. Homag is investing a further €15 million in a new plant in Poland.

There are also plans to build a new logistics center connected to the site. The goals are a high availability of spare parts as well as lean and logistics processes for supplying the plant and customers. The new logistics center will also replace the remaining external warehouses.

Back in December 2020, the Homag Group had announced investments of over €12 million for the modernization of the plant at the Schopfloch location. The largest part of this investment sum is accounted for by a hall extension.

New buildings are also to be constructed in Poland, where the Homag Group already employs over 700 people.

Ralf W. Dieter, Homag’s CEO: “The Polish market has been growing for years, and in the meantime, we have reached the limits of capacity at our present location. In addition, the Polish plant plays an important role in our global production network. That is why we are building a new plant in Środa starting in the second quarter of 2021.”

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Global wooden pallet prices hit record highs

Global wooden pallet prices hit record highs

Pallet prices have hit record highs, according to a U.S. Labor Department index, and European gauges show big jumps from the U.K. to Germany.

The market may stay hot through the peak construction season in the springtime and as COVID-19 vaccines help revive restaurants and event venues — adding to inflationary pressures rippling across supply chains.

“Supply is just barely keeping up with demand,” said Howe Wallace, chairman and CEO of PalletOne Inc., a Bartow, Fla.-based producer with facilities across the Southeast. “It’s a pretty dicey situation.”

At Virginia Tech’s Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design, the nation’s foremost pallet laboratory, “the companies we work with, every single one of them, said they’ve had their best year,” said Associate Professor Laszlo Horvath, the center’s director.

Pallets serve as the base of a so-called unit load, a standard way to ship products so they’re easy to move with forklifts and jacks. They are generally bought or leased by product makers and get baked into transport packaging costs. When a retailer or other end user is finished with pallets, recycling companies collect, repair and resell them. Some industries like bottling companies manage their own pallet pools.

There are roughly 5 billion pallets in use worldwide, and an estimated 2 billion in the U.S. alone — enough to go two-thirds of the way to the moon if stacked on top of each other. About 90% are wooden and the rest are made of plastic, metal or cardboard. Each year, some 513 million new wood ones are built in the U.S. and another 326 million are repaired and put back in circulation, according to Horvath.

Depending on the region, the usual price tag of $9 to $12 per wooden pallet may approach $15 this year. On April 9, U.S. government data showed the wood-pallet component of the producer price index jumped in March by the most since 1993.

“New pallets, used pallets, rental pallets — they’re all raising their prices,” said Chaille Brindley, editor and publisher of Pallet Enterprise magazine and Pallet Profile, a market report.

Pallets are made with a lower grade of hardwood and softwood than the timber used for construction and furniture. In the mid-Atlantic region, the price of pallet-grade hardwood rose to $635 per 1,000 board feet in March from $530 a year earlier, and a Southern California softwood more than doubled, to $520. Meanwhile, nail prices gained between November and March along with a 36% jump in the cost of wire rod, Brindley said.

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