Chinese Exports May ‘Jump Start’ Domestic Lumber Markets

Marshall Thomas, president of F&W Forestry Services, Inc., believes the dramatic increase in log and lumber exports to China and other Far Eastern countries may provide “a possible jump start to our southern pine economic engine” that has been hit hard by the prolonged slump in the U.S. housing market.

Although a recovery in domestic housing construction to a 1.3 million start level may be three or more years away, Thomas said the dramatic increase in exports, now largely from Pacific U.S. and Canadian ports, is providing some relief for long-distressed U.S. timber markets. Thomas believes U.S. East Coast ports, especially those in the Southeast that have immediate access to the southern pine belt, will likely share in he Far East export surge when expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014, making those ports accessible to the super large container ships soon to ply global ocean trade routes.

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