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Category Archives: Finance & Economics

Finance & Economics

Building materials price growth slowest since 2015

By David Logan
National Association of Home Builders
January 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction advanced 0.2% in December according to the latest Producer Price Index. Building materials prices increased 0.1% per month, on average, in 2019. …The PPI report shows that softwood lumber prices increased 0.1% in December and 6.7% over the course of 2019. Although this is directionally consistent with Random Lengths data, that data shows softwood lumber prices rising 14.5% in 2019. …The softwood lumber PPI data does not include any of the direct price effects driven by the 20% tariff on Canadian lumber currently being levied by the United States. American buyers of Canadian lumber were also been hurt by depreciation of the US dollar… 4.6% against the Canadian dollar over the period.

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Home builder confidence slips slightly in January, but USMCA trade deal should be a boon to the industry

By Jacob Passy
Market Watch
January 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The NAHB’s monthly confidence index dropped one point to 75 in January from 76 the month prior. The indicator of expectations for future sales over the next six months stayed the same at 79 points. The gauge of current single-family home sales dropped three points to 81, while the index that measures sentiment regarding prospective buyer traffic ticked up one point to 58. Regionally, home-builder sentiment improved on a monthly basis across the West (up 4) and Northeast (up 3), but stayed the same in the South and worsened in the Midwest (down 7).

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Factors That Will Influence Residential Real Estate In 2020

By Joe Houghton
Forbes Real Estate Council
January 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

These are the factors to be mindful of in the year ahead:

  • Low Levels Of Residential Inventory – More millennials ae entering the market
  • Mortgage Interest Rates – The cost of borrowing continues to be a bargain.
  •  The Economy – Recession more likely in 2021
  • The Silver Tsunami – Millions of baby boomers are now aging into their 60s and 70s
  • The Millennial Shift To The Suburbs – It’s an urban myth that all millennials want the hipster condo in the city
  • Home Sales – Home sales are estimated to reach 6.1 million in 2020

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Canada’s lumber production decreased by 9.6% in October

Lesprom Network
January 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Сanada’s lumber production increased 11.5% from September to 5 203.5 thousand cubic metres in October. Production was 9.6% lower than in October 2018, as Statistics Canada said in the press release received by Lesprom Network. Sawmills shipped 4 934.0 thousand cubic metres of lumber in October, up 2.1% from September and down 10.5% from October 2018. [END]

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Canadian housing starts slow in December on urban multi-unit decline

The Canadian Press in BNN Bloomberg
January 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

CMHC says the pace of housing starts slowed in December, mostly because of a decline in multiple-unit projects in urban areas. The housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts came in at 197,329 in December, down from 204,320 in November. …The overall drop came as the pace of urban starts slowed four per cent in December to 185,934 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. Starts on multiple-unit dwellings in urban areas fell five per cent.

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Competition for housing is so high, the spring market is starting now

By Diana Olick
CNBC News
January 2, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The severe shortage of homes for sale is upending the sales calendar for the whole housing market. Spring has historically been the busiest buying season, but as competition for homes heats up across the country, January is the new April. Spring starts now. The numbers are telling. From 2015 through 2018, the peak month for average views per listing on Realtor.com was April. January lagged by a full 16%. In 2019, however, January was the busiest month on the site in 20 of the largest 100 metropolitan markets.

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Wild weather helped make niche commodities big winners in 2019

By Michael Hirtzer and Ashley Robinson
Bloomberg Commodities
January 1, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices had a bit of a roller-coaster ride in 2019. First, Chicago futures fell as much as 15 per cent to a low of US$286.10 per 1,000 board feet in late May. The wet spring caused U.S. housing starts to tumble, while producers in BC manage supplies. Tides turned when lumber companies finally curbed production, while U.S. housing starts rebounded. Prices are now on pace for an annual gain of 27 per cent. The rally is expected to continue in 2020. The Canadian curtailments will keep supplies tight in North America, said Kevin Mason, managing director of ERA Forest Products Research. “It’s going to be definitely a much stronger market”.

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Here’s Why Canada Housing Will Soar in the 2020s!

By Ambrose O’Callaghan
The Motley Fool Canada
January 4, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The 2010s saw a remarkable rise in the value of Canadian houses and condominiums, especially in major metropolitan areas like Toronto and Vancouver. …Major housing markets were hit with turbulence in 2017. The provincial and federal government responded with a regulatory crackdown that has cooled key markets, but it has also stabilized the sector. …Experts are divided in making prognostications for 2020 and beyond. Royal Lepage has projected a 3.1% increase in housing prices in 2020, while Fitch Ratings has forecast growth of only 1%. …I’m betting the housing sector will continue to see robust sales and price increases over the next decade.

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Analysts expect ‘short-term’ pain for Canfor stock after shareholders spurn billionaire’s takeover offer

By Gabriel Friedman
The Financial Post
December 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Canfor Corp.’s stock, which had been trading around $15.52 on Monday dropped more than 18 per cent. …Analysts said the drop was expected and several signs pointed to a likely recovery. …Paul Quinn, an analyst with RBC… wrote that he had lowered his price target for Canfor to $16 based on an expectation that Great Pacific’s bid would win shareholder approval. But in light of the rejection, he revised his price target to $22. …Hamir Patel, of CIBC, also wrote that the horizon looks clearer for the industry. …Mark Wilde, a BMO analyst, wrote that Great Pacific’s bid “significantly undervalues” Canfor and had placed a $22 to $24 intrinsic value on the company.

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US Housing Starts vs Softwood Lumber Prices: 3Q 2019

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Cision Newswire
December 19, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Housing starts in the US grew +3.2% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.365 million and the pace for October was revised upward, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce December 17. …Canadian and US sawmills are reporting they are holding off booking new sales until January, just to  maintain current price levels. …For their part, similarly, reloads, wholesalers, and secondary suppliers have also not been building lumber inventory. …Sentiment among customers that prices might go down stubbornly persists.

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North American softwood lumber production on a downward trend

Global Wood Markets
December 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. sawmills produced 26.616 billion board ft. of softwood lumber in the first nine months, edging down 0.1% from the 26.653 bbf produced in the same period a year earlier. …Apparent U.S. softwood lumber consumption in the first nine months was 36.742 bbf, down 0.1% from 36.783 bbf last year. …Canadian sawmills produced 18.608 bbf of softwood lumber in the first nine months, down 10.9% from last year’s 20.889 bbf. Sawmills in BC accounted for 7.625 bbf of the nine-month total, a 20.6% drop from output a year earlier of 9.601 bbf. Sawmills east of the Rockies produced 10,983 bbf, 2.7% less than the previous year’s output of 11.288 bbf.

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Residential Construction To ‘Increase Substantially’ Come 2020

By Aly Yale
Forbes Magazine
December 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The new year is shaping up to be a good one for homebuyers. Not only are homebuilders more confident in the market than have been in 20-plus years, but recent construction numbers are surpassing expectations. …The developments, along with strong economic growth, spurred Fannie Mae to revise its housing forecast for 2020. The company now predicts housing starts to jump 10% across 2020, with 1 million new homes hitting the market by 2021. …“Despite the expected increase, the supply of homes for sale remains tight and strong demand for housing is continuing to drive home prices higher, particularly in the more entry-level price tiers,” Duncan said. 

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US House Prices vs. Softwood Lumber Prices: December 2019

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Cision Newswire
December 13, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

US house prices rose in 3Q 2019, up +1.1 per cent according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI), released November 26. House prices in the US rose +4.9 per cent from 3Q 2018 to 3Q 2019. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up +0.6 per cent from August. “According to the latest home price forecast from property data firm CoreLogic, US home prices should tick up by +5.6 per cent by next September—up from the +3.5% jump of this year.” The Case Shiller Home Price Index in the US reached an all-time high of 218.27 Index Points in September of 2019. US house price appreciation inched up slightly in September with year-ago growth in the 20-city composite index rising to 2.1%, up from 2% in August.

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U.S. housing starts rise; permits at 12-1/2-year high

The US Department of Commerce
Reuters in The Financial Post
December 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in November and permits for future home construction surged to a 12-1/2-year high as lower mortgage rates continue to boost the housing market and support the broader economy. Housing starts rose 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.365 million units last month, with single-family construction racing to a 10-month high and activity in the volatile multi-family sector increasing for a second straight month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

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Canfor: Take-Private Bid Significantly Undervalues The Company

Seeking Alpha
December 10, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Canfor is in the process of being taken private by its majority shareholder, Great Pacific, for $16.00 per share. …Great Pacific’s bid is opportunistic and at the bottom of the lumber cycle, with potentially $1.1 billion of value being transferred to Great Pacific at the expense of minority shareholders. Sophisticated institutional investors have publicly stated their intention to vote down the transaction.

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Softwood lumber prices hold steady

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
December 10, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Continuing flat, as last month, U.S. softwood lumber production volume for January – September 2019 was 26,616 mmfbm. …Canadian sawmill production as per cent of practical capacity kept falling off a cliff, to land at 80% from 89% the previous year. The price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr last week was unchanged from the week before, still at US$394 mfbm.

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Canadian housing starts trend essentially unchanged in November

By Bob Dugan
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
December 9, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Ottawa — The trend in housing starts was 219,047 units in November 2019, compared to 218,253 units in October 2019, according to CMHC. “The national trend in housing starts was essentially unchanged in November, reflecting slight increases in the national trends of both multi-family and single-detached starts”, said Bob Dugan. 

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Softwood lumber prices stabilize

By Madisons Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
December 3, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices in Canada and the US stabilized last week to levels moderate when compared to one-year and two-years ago price levels. …The price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr last week dropped -$2 to close Friday at US$394 mfbm (net FOB sawmill; cash price, or “print”). Recovering from drops in autumn, last week’s price is also -$2 less than it was one month ago. Continuing to gain ground after severe lows, compared to one year ago this price is up +$40 or +11%.

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Softwood lumber prices moderate up

Lesprom Network
November 26, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The work stoppage on CN Rail ended… which was soon enough to avoid truly negative impact on Canada’s forest industry. …Most standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices are now higher than last month and one year ago, while specialty lumber items remain lower than one year ago. …Still flat from the previous week, the price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr was again last week $396 mfbm. Closing the gap compared to October, last week’s price is +$18, or +5%, more than it was one month ago. 

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US new home sales fall in October; September revised higher

Reuters in CNBC
November 26, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly fell in October following recent strong gains, but the overall housing market remains supported by lower mortgage rates. The Commerce Department said new home sales dropped 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 units last month, held down by decreases in activity in the South and Northeast regions. September’s sales pace was revised higher to 738,000 units, the highest since July 2007, from the previously reported 701,000 units.

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U.S. housing starts rebound; permits highest in over 12 years

By Reuters
The Financial Post
November 19, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. homebuilding rebounded in October and permits for future home construction jumped to a more than 12-year high, pointing to strength in the housing market amid lower mortgage rates. Housing starts increased 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.314 million units last month, with single-family construction rising for a fifth straight month and activity in the volatile multi-family sector rebounding solidly, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. …Housing starts advanced 8.5% on a year-on-year basis in October. Building permits surged 5.0% to a rate of 1.461 million units in October, the highest level since May 2007. …The sector, which accounts for about 3.1% of the economy, however, continues to be hobbled by land and labor shortages.

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Homebuilder confidence slips slightly in November

By Diana Olick
CNBC Markets
November 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

The national association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell 1 point to 70, after rising steadily since June to the highest level of the year last month. Anything above 50 is considered positive. The index measured 60 last November. Of the index’s three components, current sales conditions fell 2 points to 76, traffic of prospective buyers dropped 1 point to 53 and sales expectations in the next six months rose 1 point to 77.

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Benchmark softwood lumber prices flat, some specialty items soar

By Keta Kosman
Madison’s Lumber Reporter
November 13, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Remaining flat after recent climbs, the price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr stayed flat last week at U.S. $396 mfbm. Last week’s price is +$28, or +8%, more than it was one month ago. Compared to one year ago, when prices were at the beginning of a terrible slide, this price is up +74% or +23%.

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October Housing Starts Trend Lower in Canada

Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corp
Forex Factory
November 8, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Canadian housing starts fell in October compared with the previous month as groundbreaking decreased on multiple unit urban homes, data from the national housing agency showed on Friday. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts fell to 201,973 units from a revised 221,135 units in September, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation said. Economists had expected starts to be 221,200.

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Softwood lumber prices pop higher as seasonal winter slowdown looms

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
November 5, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Continuing recent climbs, the price of benchmark construction framing dimension softwood lumber commodity SPF popped +$18, or +5%, last week to close at US$396 mfbm. Last week’s price is +$20, or +5%, more than it was one month ago. ..Buyers had little choice but to capitulate as their own depleted inventories forced them coming back to make orders frequently.

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Canada’s lumber production up slightly in August

By Statistics Canada
Lesprom Network
November 5, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Сanada’s lumber production increased 3% from July to 4 628.8 thousand cubic metres in August. Production was 15.8% lower than in August 2018, as Statistics Canada said in the press release received by Lesprom Network. Sawmills shipped 4 776.5 thousand cubic metres of lumber in August, up 3.3% from July and down 17.9% from August 2018. [END]

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CMHC’s Housing Market Trend Predictions For 2020

By Jenny Febbraro
Toronto Storeys
November 4, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The two-year slowdown Canada experienced in the housing market is now officially over. The Canadian housing market has finally come out of its slumber since the imposed stress-test halted market progress. However, it is expected to improve most dramatically in Ontario and Quebec. 3. …The CMHC says the total number of homes that started construction in 2019 is about the same ballpark total we should expect for both 2020 and 2021, in line with the historical average for annual home construction.

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Canfor shares dive after Great Pacific calls off privatization deal

Canadian Press in Canadian Business
December 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Shares in Canfor Corp. fell more than 20 per cent after Great Pacific Capital Corp. failed to win the approval of the company’s minority shareholders and called off its plan to take the lumber producer private. …Canfor shares were down $3.56 at $12.00 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock had traded for $8.80 before Great Pacific made its offer on Aug. 10. Great Pacific, which holds a 51 per cent stake in Canfor, said the offer was within a range determined to be fair by a Canfor special committee and its advisers.

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Pattison’t offer to buy Canfor abandoned

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
December 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Shares in Canfor Corporation dropped 20% on the news that an offer by Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison has been cancelled. …If Pattison’s offer was intended to boost the company’s share price, it worked. Even with this morning’s selloff, Canfor’s share price is still well above what it was when Pattison first made his offer. …Paul Quinn, analyst for RBC, admitted in a briefing note that analysts like him were shocked by Monday’s decision. “Based on our analysis published last week, we expect that Canfor will trade at ~$13 per share”.

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Non-residential construction set to buttress B.C.’s economy

By Jock Finlayson, Business Council of BC
The Western Investor
November 28, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With mounting concerns about a slowing global economy and a worrying downshift in per capita growth across the advanced economies, the recent release of Statistics Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts Review contains some good news for B.C. …B.C.’s per capita real GDP rose by one per cent in 2018, second only to Quebec. While far from a world-beating result, this was ahead of the other provinces. 

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Pinnacle Renewable Energy reports fiscal 2019 third quarter results

By Pinnacle Renewable Energy
The Canadian Business Journal
November 13, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Pinnacle Renewable Energy today announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 27, 2019. “The third quarter of 2019 was a challenging period as a number of our B.C. fibre suppliers curtailed operations, resulting in a transition to an increased use of harvest residuals in our production process, driving higher costs,” said Rob McCurdy, CEO of Pinnacle. Revenue increased 5.6% to $92.6 million, compared to $87.6 million of revenue in Q3 2018. Early in Q3 2019, Pinnacle entered into a limited partnership agreement with Tolko Industries Ltd. to build a new industrial wood pellet production facility in High Level, Alberta

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Housing Upswing to Cushion U.S. Economy From Sluggish Investment

Vince Bloomberg
Yahoo Finance
January 14, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

A rejuvenated U.S. housing market will help keep the economy chugging along despite the threat posed by a derailment in corporate spending. Home construction outlays, which account for almost 4% of gross domestic product, increased for a fifth straight month in November, marking a welcome departure from a yearlong slowdown. Buyers, their confidence bolstered by sustained job and income growth, have taken advantage of the lowest borrowing costs in almost three years. The Atlanta Fed’s latest GDPNow estimate has residential investment penciled in at an annualized 3.9% gain for the fourth quarter.

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Here’s how many homes were built in the last decade

Housing Wire
January 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Housing production had a long way to go in order to catch up after the recession. …Despite that, there were still nearly 7 million single-family houses built in the last decade. More specifically, there were 6.8 million single-family housing starts between 2010 and 2019, which included 1.53 million custom home building starts, 827,000 townhouses starts and 300,000 single-family built-for-rent starts, according to the NAHB. Over half of single-family starts were in the South region, NAHB said. The West had 23% of starts, while the Midwest had 15% and the Northeast had 8%. Looking ahead… southern markets are actually expected to outperform other national markets this  year.

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U.S. third-quarter GDP growth revised up to 2.1%

Reuters
November 27, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

US economic growth picked up slightly in the third quarter, rather than slowing as initially reported. …Gross domestic product increased at a 2.1% annualized rate, the Commerce Department said… up from the 1.9% pace estimated last month. The economy grew at a 2.0% pace in the April-June period. …Growth has slowed from the 3.1% rate notched in the first three months of the year. But the risks of a recession in the near term have subsided as the housing market has rebounded from last year’s soft patch, driven by lower mortgage rates.

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Home Depot cuts 2019 forecast after sales miss, shares drop

By Elly Cosgrove
CNBC News
November 19, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Home Depot’s stock fell after the company said it would take more time for its investments to pay off. The company’s earnings topped analysts’ expectations but sales fell short. Home Depot also cut its 2019 sales forecast and said it expects same-store sales to be lower than expected this year. The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer once again cut its 2019 forecast and reported same-store sales well below estimates. Although earnings came in a penny better than expected, the company said revenue, which also missed analysts’ targets, was hurt by spending on improvements to its IT systems, stores, and supply chain.

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New-Home Sales Hit 6-Month High on Southern Surge

By Robert Smith
Valliant News
November 3, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased more than expected in May as sales in the South surged to their highest level in nearly 11 years. The jumped 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000 units last month, the highest level since November 2017. April’s sales pace was revised down to 646,000 units from the previously reported 662,000 units. Last month’s surge in new home sales unwound April’s drop. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which make up 11 percent of housing market sales, rising only 0.7 percent to a pace of 667,000 units in May.

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Timber prices set to rise

The Construction Index
January 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

A leading timber supplier is predicting that timber prices will rebound in 2020 after a collapse in 2019. Excess stock brought in ahead of the original 1st April 2019 Brexit deadline, continuing uncertainty around Brexit and challenges posed by bark beetle attacks throughout central Europe all contributed to timber prices falling last year, says Nigel Buckley-Ryan, UK sales director of Södra Wood Ltd. But there is now a risk of timber shortages and supply delays and so 2020 is likely to see prices going up again, he says.

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Housing starts in Japan fall for the fourth consecutive month

Trading Economics
December 3, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Housing starts in Japan slumped 7.4 percent year-on-year in October 2019, the fourth straight month of decline, after a 4.9 percent fall in the previous month and compared with market estimates of a 7.6 percent drop. New construction starts fell for owned (-5.6 percent vs -3.5 percent in September), rented (-16.5 percent vs -16.8 percent), issued (-58.7 percent vs -24.7 percent), prefabricated (-7.9 percent vs -5.8 percent) and two-by-four (-12.7 percent vs -6.9 percent). 

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U.S. housing starts surge to 13-year high, gov’t figures show

By Don Jacobson
UPI.com
January 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics

Housing starts in the United States surged to a 13-year high last month. The Commerce Department said December saw about a 17 percent increase in new home construction, to a 1.6 million annualized rate. The figure was a substantial improvement over the revised November rate of 1.4 million, and 41 percent higher than it was in December 2018. The U.S. housing market hasn’t seen such a level for new construction since 2006. December’s rate was also the greatest month-to-month improvement in three years. The department said building permits, however, declined in December. 

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North America construction framing dimension softwood lumber prices firm over 2019-end

By Kéta Kosman
Madison’s Lumber Reporter
January 14, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics

…The generally buoyant demand for construction framing dimension lumber products at the end of 2019 carried through to somewhat strengthening prices in the first week back to work for sawmills across Canada and the US in 2020.  The latest round of sawmill closures, mostly in BC, and continually improving demand for home buying in the US are working to keep lumber supplies quite tight with demand. …Compared to historical trend, last week’s benchmark lumber item Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr price continued rising, up by another +$4, or +1%, relative to the previous week’s price of US$398 mfbm, and is up +$74, or +23%, relative to the same week one year ago. This is a big reversal over the same time last year, when this benchmark lumber commodity item price was down significantly. And dropping.

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