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Market Brief

U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled 127 million board feet (300,200 m3) in February, 2% above the previous February record set last year. Compared to last February, exports this February were higher to Asia (+5%), Latin America (+10%) and the Middle East and Africa (+20%), but lower to Europe (-20%). Year-to-date exports to Canada and Mexico were up 1% and 6% through February, respectively, but exports to each of the five largest overseas markets were down, including China (-8%), Vietnam (-5%), the United Kingdom (-9%), Japan (-0.2%) and Italy (-23%). Purchasing by Asian distributors and end-users was limited in April, as most had high inventories and expected additional price declines. European markets were even quieter, largely due to unfavorable U.S. dollar exchange rates versus the euro, pound and other currencies. Mexico and the Middle East were bright spots in April, with shipments generally consistent with March. Price competition intensified across almost all markets in April.