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US and Canada Timber and Wood Product Price and Market Report
16 – 30th Jun

Report from North America

 May housing starts encouraging
A press release for the US Census Bureau has reported privately‐owned housing units authorised through building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,491,000. This is 5.2% above the revised April rate of 1,417,000, but is 12.7% below the May 2022 rate of 1,708,000 units.

Single‐family authorisations in May were at a rate of 897,000; this is 4.8% above the revised April figure of 856,000. Authorisations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 542,000 in May.

 Housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,631,000. This is 21.7% above the revised April estimate of 1,340,000 and is 5.7 % above the May 2022 rate of 1,543,000.

Single‐family housing starts in May were at a rate of 997,000; this is 18.5 % above the revised April figure of 841,000. Housing completionsin May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,518,000. This is 9.5% above the revised April estimate of 1,386,000 and is 5.0% above the May 2022 rate of 1,446,000.

Single‐family housing completions in May were at a rate of 1,009,000.This is 3.9% above the revised April rate of 971,000. Keen interest from would-be home buyers is creating strong demand for new homes. These buyers continue to face a lack of options in the resale market. This is the second month in a row that starts are up. The pace of construction was the highest since last April, when starts hit a 1.8 million pace. The surge in construction this spring was led by the Midwest.

The Canadian housing market has gained strength since March of this year and analysts anticipate the impact of these recent gains on affordability to last for some time. Housing demand is particularly strong in Canada as surging population growth, a tight labour market and accumulated pandemic-era savings are driving demand according to a Desjardins report.

However steam has been taken out of the market as the the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate on 7 June 7 and this has put downward pressure on home prices which had rebounded faster than the Bank had expected.


In related news, US existing-home sales increased in May according to the National Association of REALTORS. Sales were mixed among the four major US regions with the South and West posting improvements and the Northeast and Midwest experiencing pullbacks. All four regions experienced year-over-year decline in sales.

New homes are selling at a pace as in pre-pandemic times because of abundant inventory in that sector. However, existing home sales activity is down as the inventory is roughly half the level of 2019.

Total existing-home sales1 – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 0.2% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual.


Receding inflation worries lifts consumer sentiment
US consumer sentiment continued to improve through to the end of June while short-term inflation expectations were at a two-year low. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for June showed a 9% surge in overall sentiment and an even stronger surge in expectations for the future. Receding inflation worries are the main driver of this change.

Consumer sentiment rose 9% in June across all demographic groups this striking upswing reflects a recovery in attitudes generated by the resolution of the debt ceiling crisis along with more positive feelings over softening inflation.

Views of their own personal financial situation were unchanged, however, as persistent high prices and expenses continued to weigh on consumers. There are signs June was a turning point in consumer’s gloomy views of the economic situation.




LM       Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS        Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR           French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Grade B faced and Grade C backed MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF        Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot              Price has moved up or down
Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report