Freres Lumber September Market Update: Catch Up and Recovery After Santiam Canyon Fires

September 28, 2020

Over the past few weeks, of course, the local wildfires that ravaged our local Santiam Canyon area have taken center stage. Lots of destruction, devastation, and loss for many. Now, as the local situation has largely been tamped down, recovery after the Santiam Canyon fires continues. More cool weather and rain has helped immensely. Our facilities, somehow, were spared from the fires, but Freres private timber in the local area was decimated during this time. Several other companies have seen the same for their timber holdings. Many, many other citizens experienced tragic losses as well. Our entire operations were down for two weeks, and we restarted operations on Monday, September 21st. The recovery efforts after the Santiam Canyon fires will be significant, and will endure for some time to come.

Recovery after santiam canyon firesOn the plywood side, we are behind approximately two weeks. We are doing all that we can to catch up. We are currently quoting wood for w/o 11/9 shipment or sooner.

On the market side, most commodity trading in lumber and panels has cooled in the past few weeks. Some markets that were especially high, have backed off of those numbers to varying degrees. Some species in dimension lumber, especially mills with shorter order files, have been discounting to move off excess production. U.S. dimension markets have been mostly stable, with some cracks here and there. Many mills are still falling back on order file strength and holding close to their quoted prices. Buyers have turned cautious and are tightening up their buying considerably. They seem to be contemplating the market’s next move and the shortening building season.

Some Southern Pine Plywood mills with shorter order files in the southeast have been discounting offerings when need be. Some mills still have order files long enough to hold steady. Western plywood mills are largely stable, and living off of order file strength. Some discounting is apparent out there, but quick wood can still command a premium in many western destinations – certainly an indicator of nearby market strength.

Recovery after santiam canyon fires

We know that it has been a unique year all the way around. With three months still to go, I am sure we haven’t seen the last of trajectory-altering events, especially in markets. In fact, most of us will not be surprised by anything anymore. I would say that we must continue to be nimble and ready to adapt, with quickly changing circumstances in our markets, and in our lives. There has been much recent disruption and tragedy for our local community. But as always, we count our many blessings as well.

Bob Maeda
Bob Maeda


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