Timber sector-related exchange traded funds continue to grow as lumber prices have surged over the past three weeks on ongoing demand in the real estate market.
The iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF (WOOD) has increased 9.2% year-to-date while the Invesco MSCI Global Timber ETF (CUT) has gained 6.4%. Over the past year, WOOD has advanced 35.2% and CUT has grown 30.8%.
Defying the traditional winter slowdown in wood product sales, lumber prices are hitting record highs across wood species, products, and grades, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to pricing service Random Lengths, engineered wood products for new construction are in short supply, and mills are backed up with orders to March.
Meanwhile, lumber futures surged 47% over the past three weeks and was a few dollars short of records set in September.
“We don’t expect these prices forever, but what we are seeing is a bit of acceptance that maybe going forward the price level may be different than it has been in the past,” Chris Virostek, finance chief at West Fraser Timber Co. , North America’s largest lumber producer, told the WSJ.
The timber industry has been a resilient area of the post-coronavirus economy. Many previously believed that widespread job losses would erase a promising spring for home-building. Yet Americans ramped up home improvement projects and homebuilders saw a broad shift to the suburbs after record-low mortgage rates and city dwellers looking for more living space.
The recent runup in lumber prices may be partially attributed to the cold snap that has blanketed North America, which disrupted lumber deliveries from Canada where dealers and retailers are stocking up for spring. In addition, strong wood prices in Europe have prevented imports from dampening the domestic price rally.
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