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Market Brief

The overall health of North American hardwood markets is tied more than ever to Chinese purchasing, and the outlook for Chinese purchasing is positive for the next couple of months. Even with a decline in Chinese new property construction, quite a few economic indicators in China support better demand ahead—including decent GDP growth, solid retail sales gains, and increasing industrial production. Red Oak makes up about 30% of China’s hardwood lumber purchases from the U.S., and as prices continue to slip over the next 30 days, we’ll see more Chinese buyers re-enter the market. In the U.S., the economic recovery remains tenuous. Following a Q1 2014 contraction, initial estimates indicate GDP grew 4.0% in Q2 2014. However, growth in private inventories comprised a sizeable portion of that gain, and could detract from future growth. The housing market recovery has stalled, but a “noticeable increase” in serious buyers entering the market bolstered builder confidence in July and August.