The prices for softwood lumber imports from Canada to the US have skyrocketed 30% since Hurricane Harvey hit last summer and mostly as a result of the tariffs imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department.
“This was the highest week-end futures price we have on record, dating back to January 1995,” said David Logan, director of NAHB’s tax and trade policy analysis. “There was a short reprieve for price increases following the hurricane, but prices have risen sharply this month.”
In recent months, OSB prices have declined gradually but this decline stopped at the end of January, when the prices increased by 6%.
The near-term outlook appears uncertain, as softwood lumber negotiations seem to be at a stalemate. Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization as well as the NAFTA arbitration panel, accusing the U.S. of violating international trade rules, as reported by Builder Online.
“Using history as a guide, the most likely path forward is a lengthy litigation process during which lumber prices remain high,” Logan said. “Futures prices for 2018 delivery have increased substantially in recent weeks, suggesting that financial markets believe negotiations will be prolonged.”