The Globe and Mail reports in its Monday edition that lumber prices have jumped in the past month, as wildfires in Canada raise concerns about supply disruptions while healthy U.S. housing starts boost the demand side. The Globe's Brent Jang writes that cash prices -- what sawmills charge wholesalers -- have climbed 22 per cent since June 1. They settled last week at $420 for 1,000 board feet of two-by-fours made from Western spruce, pine and fir (SPF), compared with $343 on June 1, according to Random Lengths (all figures U.S.). Despite the softwood lumber rally last month, cash prices are down 74 per cent since reaching a record high of $1,630 in May, 2021. "June marked an eventful month for the North American lumber market, with a confluence of factors catalyzing a tightening in market conditions," said a research report from Fast-markets, which publishes Random Lengths. In May, there were more than 1.63 million housing starts estimated in the U.S. on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, according to data released on June 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau. "Better-than-expected housing demand is a key factor. The big unknown remains the wildfire season in Canada," BMO analyst Ketan Mamtora said in a research note.
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