Following is excerpted from the most recent issue of the Hardwood Leader. Business in the first quarter of the year was a bit below industry expectations, as lumber production exceeded demand and caused widespread buildups in inventories, especially in the Oaks. There are signs that lumber price declines have begun to stabilize, but we anticipate that lumber markets will remain slow with prices under pressure until fall. In many U.S. housing markets, the only strength at all is at the top levels and in vacation homes. Export markets improved in Feb but continue to underwhelm expectations. Year-to-date shipments were off 6.3% from the 2014 pace. Q1 reports suggest China’s economy continues to slow; its Mar imports were 12% lower than year-ago levels, and exports were off 15%. European lumber demand is slowly improving, but exchange rates remain unfavorable for U.S. shippers. The Hardwood Leader contains essential forecasts for industry members. Call 704-543-4408 to learn more.