Wood Business

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B.C. sawmills on the rebound

After half a decade of depression, British Columbia sawmills are once again humming and forest companies are in the black, hitched to the twin trains of China's appetite for B.C. wood and improving U.S. housing demand.

October 5, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

“From what we can see, this looks like a solid recovery,” Gerry Van Leeuwen, vice-president of the Vancouver research firm Wood Markets, told The Vancouver Sun. “The builders and the lumber dealers (in the U.S.) are pretty excited. They think this is for real; that the recovery is really happening.”

Lumber companies are not expressing the same degree of optimism; they have been burned twice before by false starts from the U.S. in the last two years. But the signs are all pointing to steady growth, said John Allan, president of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries.

“I would say there is cautious optimism,” he said. “They have been down so long, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. We have suffered the longest and deepest downturn in the history of the forest products industry and the future is still very uncertain.”

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