Two thousand and fourteen has been the best year ever for U.S. hardwood exports. With lumber export values expected to top out at $2.38 billion—up 28% from 2013—and log exports on pace to reach $711 million, total hardwood exports will surpass the $3 billion mark for the first time! Lumber exports will approach 1.68 billion board feet and log exports will exceed 2 million cubic meters. Our outlook is for steady to stronger business in the months ahead, as growing economic strength in the U.S. brings increased domestic sales. Even with Chinese economic growth forecast to slip to 7%, and the EU treading water, global hardwood demand should trend higher. The U.S.’s growing energy self-sufficiency and lower oil prices will stimulate industrial activity in the U.S. and abroad. Sawmills will increase production where logs allow, which currently includes most regions. They will need—and likely get—a big kick from Chinese buyers after the New Year to keep volumes moving and hold prices up.