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Market Brief

The following comments are excerpted from the December 2015 issue of the Hardwood Leader: Oct and early Nov hardwood sales were fairly good. The pace of U.S. new home construction climbed in Sep by 6.5%, though much of the growth this year—and since the recession—has been at the high end. Since 2009, the median size of new homes constructed has risen 14% to more than 2,500 ft2. The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to increase interest rates in Dec, and the NAHB projects 30-year mortgages will hit 4.5% next year. U.S. hardwood sawmills will likely produce slightly less lumber in 2016 as mills continue to find profits elusive, in part due to the strong dollar and slowing world economic growth. European purchasing was down 13% during the first three quarters and won’t increase in 2016 given the weak euro and ongoing economic problems. Lumber prices will slowly improve, but won’t return to levels seen early in 2015.