North American lumber prices are have continued to rise mainly since Russia has invaded Ukraine. Since Vladimir Putin oredered troops to enter Ukraine, price have increased by 14% up to $1,452, putting them just 15% below their all-time peak of $1,711 in May.
US and EU sanctions in response to the invasion are hitting the Russian economy, but such sanctions could pressure lumber prices to go up more. Russia is the largest wood exported in the world, and its exports reached US$12 billion last year.
Even before the war began, lumber prices were volatile. In January, they fell 15%. Since February 1, they've soared 55%.
And starting this week, price swings will have more room to rise.
De-escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war may not offer much price relief either as several factors have been applying upward pressure. The US housing shortage and a continuing focus on home improvement are keeping demand high. And flooding in the key lumber hub of British Columbia last year has kept distribution snarled and supply chains constrained.