Now may be a good time to look into possibly investing in lumber through either futures contracts or ETF’s like CUT. Lumber prices trend strong in one direction for long periods of time when there is an ample supply/demand imbalance.
Lumber futures that surged more than any other commodity in February may extend a rally to a 10-month high as China boosts imports and the U.S. housing recovers, researcher Wood Resources International LLC said.
Prices have gained 11 per cent since the end of January, the most among 35 raw materials tracked by the Rogers International Commodity Index. Lumber may reach $300 US per 1,000 board feet by July on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up nine per cent from Thursday’s close of $275.20 and the highest since April 6, Wood Resources said.
West Fraser Timber Co., North America’s largest producer, said exports to China “picked up substantially” in the first quarter from the fourth quarter. Shipments climbed to a record in 2011, government data show. U.S. housing starts rose 1.5 per cent last month from December to a 699,000 annual rate, the most for a January since 2008 and a sign that residential real estate is stabilizing, the Commerce Department said Feb. 16.
“The general trend should be upward, with more optimism in the market that housing starts should slowly start to increase,” Hakan Ekstrom, the president of Wood Resources, said by telephone from Bothell, Wash. “The west coast of Canada and the U.S. also have China probably starting to buy more lumber again.”
“Our shipments to China slowed somewhat” during the fourth quarter “due to high lumber inventories there,” Henry Ketcham, the chief executive officer of Vancouver-based West Fraser, said in a Feb. 17 conference call. “Shipments have picked up substantially in the new year.”
“We’ve had a mild winter, so no problems with construction, weather-wise,” Jamie Greenough, a broker at Glob-al Securities Corp., said in Vancouver. “The export market is still robust.”