Our outlook for the hardwood industry remains “steady,” despite a noticeable slowing in demand in recent weeks. Most producers are reading the slowing as “seasonal” and “typical” and are optimistic about the coming year. With slower cabinet and flooring sales, however, lumber prices are likely to remain near present levels for most items. September housing starts were a bit higher than year-ago levels, which supports forecasts of slowly improving construction into next year. The pace of European economic growth remains of widespread concern. Q3 growth for the 18-nation Euro-zone was just 0.2%. Even the UK is struggling with declining home values. China forecasts strong growth for 2015, though there are increasing signs the economy is not as strong as the government is trying to portray. Still, U.S. hardwood lumber exports should reach a record 1.6 billion board feet this year. Export shipments will pause for upcoming European and Asian holidays, but return to “normal” thereafter.