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Canadian Wildfires Choke Lumber Supply to U.S. Home Builders

Benjamin Parkin & David George-Cosh – Wall Street Journal)

Wildfires in Canada are making lumber harder to find for U.S. home builders.

Lumber futures have soared in July as blazes spread across the province of British Columbia, leaving many U.S. wholesalers short-handed. Lumber dealers ran down their inventories this year as a trade spat between the administration of President Donald Trump and Canadian officials sparked wild price swings. Then Canada’s wildfires, a threat every summer, turned out to be the hardest on the lumber industry in more than a decade.

Now home builders in the U.S., which gets around a third of its lumber from Canada, fear prices might climb even higher as wholesalers try to restock amid the price surge. British Columbia produces nearly half of all Canadian lumber, according to Statistics Canada.

“People need wood now,” said Paul Harder, a timber trader at wholesaler Dakeryn Industries in North Vancouver, which sells to U.S. lumber yards. “Little lumber is being offered out there.” Click here to read more.