As understanding of these new realities emerged, the forest products industry is looking forward to next year and wondering what to expect. Opinions range widely about forecasts for price points, but there is general agreement about one thing; the wild volatility of the past two years is behind us. So where are future price swings likely to land?
To Madison’s it seems that Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) will fluctuate somewhere between US$500 and $700 mfbm. This is because that lower price is very generally the new cost-of-production for most large-volume operators in British Columbia. It is also because industry has become much more savvy since the early-2000s, in terms of responding quickly to market conditions by curtailing production and taking downtime.
So the habit in the past of continuing to run lumber despite big drops in demand, thus keeping supply high and driving prices down, is no longer the usual method of operating. Since the beginning of 2021, facilities across North America have noted dropping demand and have responded by reducing production volumes.