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Market Brief

May was the best month ever for U.S. hardwood lumber exports. It was also a record month for Poplar and Walnut exports, and the best month for White Oak exports since Oct 2005. Shipments to China, Vietnam and Mexico—the largest non-Canadian markets—were pacing at record annualized levels through May, and the relatively large British and Japanese markets also showed robust growth. After reaching a record level, exports began to slow at the end of May, slowed further in June, and were much slower in July. Reduced July shipments to Europe were largely attributable to seasonal holidays. Slower Mexican demand was also consistent with seasonal norms. Most Middle Eastern markets were predictably quiet due to Ramadan. However, several contacts reported a July decline in exports to China beyond the usual seasonal slowdown, due to large in-country inventories and buyers’ attempts to push down Red Oak prices by staying off the market. Most exporters expect strong business to return in Sept/Oct.