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Market Brief

Some observers expected higher production, leveling prices, and seasonally slow summer markets to dampen industry optimism, but that is not happening. Instead, most view the summer setbacks as temporary—including sizeable Red Oak price declines—and expect good business in the fall. July exports of 134 MMBF were below the all-time highs of earlier months, but still 18% above the July record set last year. Similarly, July 2014 was the best July ever for exports to China, even if volume was down from prior months. Strength in exports has kept supplies tight and prices firm for most species, and Red Oak supply will re-tighten soon. The outlook for the balance of 2014 is solid. U.S. home starts rose 15.7% in July and should outpace 2013 levels through year-end. Lumber production has been rising, but with wetter weather just around the corner, supply should not overwhelm demand. A noticeable increase in orders from all markets in recent weeks affirms expectations of stronger future demand.