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Biggest lumber profit since ’06

B.C. companies are leading Canadian lumber producers to the biggest combined profit since 2006 as mills run at five-year highs to feed a U.S. housing rebound and near-record Chinese demand.

August 27, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

Bloomberg reports that lumber mills in British Columbia ran at 86 percent of production capacity in the five months through May, compared with 82 percent for all of 2011, according to the Western Wood Products Association. Lumber futures rose to a 15-month high on Aug. 15 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The industry is recovering from losses and mill closures during the four-year U.S. housing bust amid resurgent new-home sales and building activity south of the border. Some producers are also capitalizing on orders from China for imported Canadian lumber even as the Asian country’s economy slows.

Paul Jannke, a lumber- market analyst at Westford, Massachusetts-based Forest Economic Advisors LLC, estimates the industry in West Canada in 2012 will probably earn the most since before the housing decline and that next year is looking even better.

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