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Softwood exports up on recovering U.S. demand

The U.S. housing market is finally showing signs of recovery after collapsing during the 2008-09 recession and hurting demand for building materials across the board.

September 18, 2012  By  John Tenpenny

Now, Vancouver-based Interfor and other B.C. lumber producers are gearing up for what they hope are the early stages of a sustained housing revival south of the border, according to The Globe and Mail. The forestry companies are hoping the momentum will carry into 2013 and translate into a badly needed turnaround for their industry, which has had to rely on Asian customers to diversify revenue in recent years.

“A lot of those U.S. Midwest cities got hit hard, but they’re certainly seeing an improved business environment now,” said Steven Hofer, vice-president of sales and marketing for Interfor. “The lumber market has been very strong through spring and summer, and that has been driven both by improvements in demand in the United States, as well as further growth in China.”

In July, the value of B.C. exports of softwood lumber to the United States surged to $216.8-million, up 61.1 per cent from the same month last year and also the highest monthly value of such exports to U.S. markets in nearly five years, according to Statistics Canada figures compiled by BC Stats. By contrast, the value of B.C. exports of softwood lumber to China grew to $82.8-million in July, up a relatively modest 5.4 per cent over the same month in 2011, but still nearly 12 times higher than five years ago.

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