Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Finance & Economics

Finance & Economics

COVID-19 impact on forestry will be significant, followed by a strong bounce back: FEA

Kelly McCloskey, Editor
Tree Frog Forestry News
March 25, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

FEA’s Brendan Lowney noted that the long-awaited US housing boom had finally arrived. …But it’s all moot, with the US effectively in recession already… Lowney expects the US economy, as measured by GDP, to shrink 3.5 percent over four months, followed by a transition quarter of low growth and then two quarters of high growth. …With respect to the impact on US housing starts, Lowney estimates a 50% reduction in the next quarter, a gradual recovery in the summer and a delayed-boom in fall. Speaking to the potential fallout on lumber markets, Paul Jannke expects 2020 consumption to decline 3%—versus the 6% rise forecast previously. Monthly lumber consumption will decrease by 400 MBF by May, 2020 and then gradually increase such that at year end it will be near the same level as prior to the crisis.

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BC, Ontario market performances to boost Canadian housing starts

By Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News
March 26, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

British Columbia and Ontario will be at the vanguard of the nation’s housing starts activity up to at least 2021. In its March 19 Housing Report, Altus Group noted that recovery will be noticeable in BC “as price adjustments persist, mortgage rates remain low, and declining resale inventories provide less competition to the new home sector.” The report has cited lower interest rates at the Bank of Canada as a major influence upon housing starts at the national level. “Stronger economic growth and still solid immigration should lift starts next year,” Altus added.

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US and Canadian softwood lumber demand remained high

Lesprom Network
March 24, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

US and Canadian softwood lumber demand remained high this week, but stocking wholesalers and resellers struggled with issues around the need to quarantine and keep social distance for their staff. Sawmills and lumber producers were often occupied with customers who were trying to cancel, or even get refunds on, orders already made. …Some operators had difficulty sourcing trucks or rail cars, while others reported smooth and speedy delivery by truck. Scattered reports of logistical headaches began to surface, including sharply increasing freight costs and stranded or undelivered loads. While most of last week was characterized by falling prices and sluggish business, Western Spruce-Pine-Fir trading apparently saw some decent fits and starts of demand among the malaise.

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COVID-19’s effect on the US economy, housing and wood product markets

FEA – Forest Economic Advisors
March 23, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Note: Deadline to Register has passed, webinar is in process. Check here tomorrow for some summary highlights.

COVID-19 is poised to have the greatest effect on the US economy since the great recession.  Yet, information surrounding the pandemic is changing almost daily, causing a tremendous amount of uncertainty for wood products producers. FEA economists will present their latest forecasts on the most likely ways COVID-19 will affect the US economy, housing and wood products markets. Example questions addressed include:

  • US economic activity.  What shape will the downturn and eventual recovery take?
  • The crisis hit just as the housing boom had finally arrived.  Will it reappear in 2020?
  • Housing starts and wood products demand will take a hit—how low will they go?

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A Shame about Housing Starts ‒ They Began 2020 in Great Shape

By Alex Carrick
The Daily Commercial News
March 23, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Is there a point to looking at the latest published numbers on the economy, since they date from before activity levels across a broad spectrum of events were so drastically curtailed in mid-March, due to the exponential advance of the new coronavirus in Europe and North America? The answer is both yes and no. …Only in the last three months has the monthly annualized level of U.S. housing starts finally reached where it should be. Unfortunately, at this precise moment… the coronavirus has rained down. Mindful of health directives that everyone should keep their distance realtors are recommending that there be no more open houses or model home visitations for a while. …In the U.S., the headlines have been shouting that secondary mortgage backers HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to help homeowners. … In Canada, the six major banks have jointly announced a mortgage-payment pause.

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Home Builders Still Hammering Away but Fear a Slowdown Looms

By Nicole Friedman
The Wall Street Journal
March 20, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

While much of American business has shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, home builders are still building houses. But these companies are bracing for a sudden drop in demand due to the outbreak and the weakening U.S. economy, which is likely to slow construction and exacerbate the national housing shortage. Most parts of the country have allowed housing developments to continue, but other issues threaten to derail some projects. They could be delayed by difficulties in obtaining government permits or inspections. Some builders are reporting supply-chain disruptions. Home builders also anticipate a sharp slowdown in new projects. Home-buying demand was strong earlier in the year, boosted by low mortgage rates. But now, many potential buyers are facing layoffs, drops in the value of their stock-market portfolios and widespread economic uncertainty. [a WSJ subscription is required to access the full story]

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NAHB chairman talks coronavirus impact on homebuilding

By Alex Veiga
The Associated press in The Hour
March 22, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Economic and housing market trends at the start of the year both favored U.S. homebuilders’ prospects for solid sales in 2020. …That was then. The NAHB now expects an “incredibly disruptive” second quarter as businesses close and lay off workers. The coming weeks will be key in determining the scale of the decline, but some economists surveyed by the National Association of Realtors forecast home sales could plunge up to 35% in the coming months. Dean Mon, NAHB chairman, says builders are already seeing shortages of some building materials and workers. A builder from Shewsbury, N.J., Mon spoke to The Associated Press.

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Layoffs start rippling across freight industries

By Brian Straight
Freight Waves
March 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

As the impact of COVID-19 quickly spreads through the economy, layoffs are becoming a common theme for workers. Those in the freight businesses are no exception. According to reports, Total Quality Logistics (TQL) and Freightos are among the businesses in the industry that have conducted layoffs in recent days. …Layoffs are expected to accelerate quickly across the nation. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin reportedly told GOP senators on March 17 that the nation’s unemployment rate could climb as high as 20% without government intervention. Investment firm UBS found that 24% of employers plan to downsize if the outbreak worsens.

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Coronavirus is already taking its toll on Canada’s real estate market

By Jessy Bains
Yahoo Finance
March 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The real estate frenzy in Canada’s biggest markets is headed for a chill as anxiety rises over the economic fallout of the coronavirus. A call for social distancing means far fewer people will be opening up their homes to potential buyers. RE/MAX wants its realtors in Ontario, the Atlantic provinces and Western Canada to cancel open houses until COVID-19 is under control. …“ There will definitely be a drop off in transactions,” John Lusink, at Right at Home Realty. …“We expect to see a drop in sales but this will take a month or two to filter through into the actual results.” Buyers will also likely put their plans on hold.

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Builder Confidence Declines But Remains Solid Amid Rising Risks

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell two points to 72 in March, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Sentiment levels have held in a firm range in the low- to mid-70s for the past six months. Builder confidence remains solid, although sales expectations for the next six months dropped four points on economic uncertainty… [but] half of the builder responses were collected prior to the recent stock market declines. Overall, 21 percent of builders in the survey report some disruption in supply due to virus concerns in other countries such as China. …The Midwest fell two points to  66, the South moved one point lower to 77 and the West posted a one-point decline to 82. The Northeast rose two points to 64.

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Canadian home sales rise 5.9 per cent in February as activity jumps in Toronto

The Canadian Real Estate Association
March 16, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

Home sales rose by 5.9% in February 2020, marking one of the larger m-o-m gains of the past decade. With transactions up in about 60% of all local markets in February, the big national increase was largely the result of a 15% jump in activity in the Greater Toronto Area. Many other Central and Southern Ontario markets also posted sizeable sales gains. …“Home prices are accelerating in markets where listings are in increasingly short supply, specifically in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes which together account for about two-thirds of national sales activity,” said Jason Stephen, president of CREA.

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Is Now the Time to Bet on Timber Stocks?

By Chris MacDonald
The Motley Fool
March 14, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Investors who have dipped their toes in the Canadian lumber sector have certainly been a bumpy ride. …As for most commodities out there, I’ve been generally bearish on lumber in years past. I view a recession in 2020 as likely. I also can’t see an end to tariffs and disputes over the land rights/upfront costs Canadian producers pay for their softwood lumber. However, with my concerns somewhat appeased due to the improving housing market, decreasing interest rates, the new USMCA deal, and a potential new president, there is certainly a bull case to be made to invest in timber in 2020.

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Western US sawmills produce 2.35% less softwood lumber in January

Western Wood Products Association in FORDAQ.com
March 10, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Western U.S. sawmills produced 1.245 billion board ft. of softwood lumber in January, down 2.3% from January 2019 when output was 1.275 bbf, but up 10.0% compared with December 2019’s 1.132 bbf, according WWPA of Portland, Oregon. Coastal mills contributed 758 million board ft. to the January total, down 4.8% from January 2019’s 797 mmbf but up 7.7% from December’s 704 mmbf, while inland mills accounted for 439 mmbf – up 2.3% from January 2019’s 429 mmbf and up 15.3% from December’s 381 mmbf. California redwood production in January was down 2.7% year-over-year and up 1.5% month-over-month to 48 mmbf.

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Canadian housing starts declined in February

By Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Cision Newswire
March 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The trend in housing starts was 208,525 units in February 2020, compared to 211,153 units in January 2020. …”The national trend in housing starts declined in February, driven by lower-trending multi-unit starts.” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Single and multi-unit starts in Toronto both trended lower, while activity in Montréal declined due to lower-trending multi-unit starts. This offset a slight up-tick in Vancouver, which follows four consecutive declines in that CMA.”

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Home construction heats up after winter freeze

By Bryan Yu
Business in Vancouver
March 26, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Housing starts bounced higher in February following a weather-induced January drop. Urban B.C. housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 38,286 units, up 55% from the 24,561 units the previous month. In comparison, national housing starts edged lower by 2%. As is often the case, the large monthly swing owed to an increase in multi-family starts, although the number of single-detached starts also rebounded. …The outlook for new-home construction remains mixed. A tightening resale market, lower interest rate environment and population growth will support demand for new ownership housing. …While housing starts decline, B.C. construction will remain elevated.

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Conifex reports 2019 year-end and fourth question results

Conifex Timber Inc.
March 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Conifex Timber reported 2019 year-end and fourth quarter results. …We had a net loss of $30.4 million in 2019 on revenues of $157.4 million compared to a net loss of $7.3 million in 2018 on revenues of $379.1 million. …We incurred a net loss of $10.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, $11.6 million in the previous quarter and $20.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Revenues were $27.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, $22.9 million in the previous quarter and $76.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The revenue variability was primarily attributable to our lumber segment as bioenergy segment revenues were generally similar in the comparative quarters.

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Stella-Jones reports 19th consecutive year of sales growth

By Stella-Jones Inc.
Global Newswire
March 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Stella-Jones announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. …Sales were up 1.6% in the fourth quarter and 2.1% for the year to $2.2 billion, delivering the nineteenth consecutive year of growth. Higher sales drove improvement in EBITDA, which grew 28.0% to $312.9 million, yielding an EBITDA margin of 14.4% for 2019. …The improvement was primarily attributable to higher selling prices for utility poles and railway ties, which largely offset the lower volumes in our two core product categories and the higher production costs for railway ties.

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Lumber Markets Hint at Housing Slowdown

By Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal
March 31, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Lumber prices are signaling that the nascent housing boom is fizzling, despite home builders’ push to keep residential construction going through the coronavirus crisis. Lumber futures have plummeted of late and mills are dramatically dialing back production. On Monday, lumber futures for May delivery fell 4.8% to close at $296.50 per 1,000… down 37% from a recent high of $468.30 hit Feb. 20. …KB Home told investors last week that although the company planned to keep working… it would take longer to complete them operating under social-distancing guidelines. …Pledges to keep building have failed to instill confidence in the forestry sector. …“Mill sales were minuscule, as buyers refused to cover more than their most essential needs until they had a better handle on the impact of the pandemic,” Random Lengths wrote Friday. “Speculative buying seized up.” …On the bright side, there is strong demand for pulp. [a WSJ subscription is required to access the full story]

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Pending Home Sales Reach 3-Year High Before Virus Outbreak

By Fan-Yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 30, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Following an 5.3% increase in January, pending home sales continued to trend higher in February, supported by low mortgage rates. The PHSI index grew 2.4%, the highest reading in three years. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 9.4% higher than a year ago. …This month’s gains showed that the housing market had been healthy before the virus outbreak, including existing home sales reaching a 13-year high and new home sales showing strength in February. 

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Jobless Claims Soar Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

By Jing Fu
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 26, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. Department of Labor released Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report… In the week ending March 21, the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits soared to a seasonally adjusted level of 3.28 million, from an upwardly revised 282,000 in the prior week. It marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims on record. Historically, the two largest seasonally adjusted numbers of weekly new unemployment insurance claims were 695,000 in October 1982 and 661,000 in March 2009, respectively. …Going forward, we will track the changes of insured unemployment for construction and real estate, by state and for the Nation.

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Builders Say Coronavirus Hurting Traffic

By Paul Emrath
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 25, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

In a survey conducted by NAHB, 81 percent of respondents said the coronavirus has had an adverse effect on traffic of prospective buyers… [based on] 308 responses between March 18 – 23.  The largest share of responses (51%) came from single-family home builders. …A total of 46 percent reported virus-induced traffic reduction to a major extent, and another 35 percent to a minor extent.  Five of the items were clustered in a group having adverse effect: the supply of N95 respirator face masks, how long it takes to obtain a plan review for a typical single-family home, supply of building products & materials, amount buyers are willing to pay for a new home, and how long it takes to obtain an inspection from the local building department.  Willingness of workers to report to construction sites was the least common problem on the list so far.

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FEA: forest products markets will ‘bounce back’ after sharp decline in mid-2020

By Ellen Cools
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
March 26, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

As Canadians enter the second week of self-isolation in an attempt to “flatten the curve,” and limit the spread of COVID-19, the economic impact of what is essentially a global shutdown is already being felt. In the forest sector, three major B.C. lumber producers have already announced curtailments due to volatile markets, which are the result of uncertainty and lower demand caused by the coronavirus. …Before the coronavirus became widespread in the U.S., the “long-awaited” housing boom had finally arrived, Lowney said. In the last six months ending in February, housing starts averaged 1.6 million in the U.S. …The current situation, however, has led to an economic recession and massive unemployment. …FEA expects the lumber market will experience a similar decline in the coming months, with a corresponding bounce back towards the end of the year.

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New Home Sales Post Strong February Reading

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 24, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

New home sales were solid in February before challenges associated with the coronavirus set in on the economy. Contracts for new, single-family home sales declined slightly in February by 4% to a 756,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to estimates from the joint release of HUD and the Census Bureau. However, this marked a 14% gain over the February 2019 pace. …The pace of new home sales will decline during the second quarter… however, given the momentum housing construction held at the start of 2020, the housing industry will certainly be a sector leading the economy in the eventual recovery.

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Existing Home Sales Hits 13-Year High in February

By Fan-Yu Kuo
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 20, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Supported by historically low interest rates and rising demand, existing home sales… surged to 13-year high in February after a slight decline in January. Unfortunately, this will mark the high water mark for some time due to virus concerns. Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 6.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million in February, highest level since February 2007. …A recent reduction in buyer traffic indicates that the housing market recovery is likely to be derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Housing Permits Started 2020 Strong

By Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 19, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Over the first month of 2020 – and prior to the impact of the coronavirus, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date nationwide reached 70,386. On a year-over-year basis, this is a 21.2% increase over the January 2019 level of 58,086. Year-to-date ending in January, single-family and multifamily permits reported growth across the country. Northeast led in both sectors with 23.9% growth in single-family and 42.2% growth in the multifamily permits. …Year-to-date, ending in January 2020, the total number of multifamily permits issued nationwide reached 42,463. This is 16.8% ahead over the January 2019 level of 36,353.

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Construction Labor Market Falls in January

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

January data… indicate that construction job openings posted year-over-year decline at the start of 2020. The estimated number of job openings declined from 299,000 in January 2019 to 274,000 in January 2020. …The overall trend for open construction jobs has been, generally, increasing since the end of the Great Recession. …However, expected economic slowing due to the coronavirus is likely to have measurable impacts on the number of construction job openings in the months ahead. …The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, held steady at 5.6% in January. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs held steady at 2.8%.

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Single-Family Starts Strong in February Before March Challenges

By Robert Dietz
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

According to estimates from the Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Departments, single-family starts expanded in February. Construction activity was accelerated earlier in the year due to warmer weather. …The three-month moving average for single-family construction is currently at a post-recession high. Single-family starts increased 6.7% to a 1,072,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace in February. Multifamily starts for units in 5+ unit properties declined 17% to a 508,000 annualized rate. …There are currently 683,000 apartments under construction, up 12% from a year ago. …Construction activity will face significant headwinds in the months ahead.

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February Housing Starts: A Snapshot in Time Before the Coronavirus Storm

By Michael Flippo
Professional Builder
March 18, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

February housing statistics will provide a benchmark to see how the virus’ spread impacts the industry as the country moves forward with quarantines, mandated closings, and social distancing initiatives. Last month ended with less than 1.6 million housing starts, which is down from the previous month but nearly 40 percent up from 2019. Although the spring buying season will most likely pull back from the expected boom, Zillow’s monthly report notes that due to the inventory shortage and low rates, builders may still have opportunities once the pandemic passes. On the surface, February’s home construction release can be viewed as the calm before the storm.

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If you want to know how badly the coronavirus is about to devastate the US economy, look at China

By Linette Lopez
Business Insider
March 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

A month ago Wall Street thought coronavirus would just be a short sharp shock to China, now it’s shutting down the US economy and tipping the global economy into recession. …The best way to understand what will happen to the US economy is to look at what happened to China. From China’s experience we’ve learned that it takes a while for an economy to get back on its feet again. And once it’s back, that doesn’t mean demand problems are solved. What that effort has done is devastate China’s economy in the first two months of 2020. …New housing starts fell by 44% and there was a 23% drop in housing completion.

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Fed takes emergency steps to slash rates and ease bank rules

By Christopher Rugaber
The Associated Press
March 15, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve took massive emergency action Sunday to try to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero and saying it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds. The Fed’s surprise announcement signaled its rising concern that the viral outbreak will depress economic growth in coming months, likely causing a recession, and that it’s poised to do whatever it can to counter the risks. It cut its key rate by a full percentage point to a range between zero and 0.25%. The central bank said it will keep its rate there until it is “confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”

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Plunging Mortgage Rates May Not End U.S. Housing Doldrums

By Gwynn Guilford
The Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

With the average rate on a 30-year mortgage falling to 3.29% last week, financing a home purchase has never been cheaper. …Yet housing is juicing the economy less than it used to, some economists say. Housing never fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and low rates won’t cure its ills. Higher land costs, restrictive zoning, scarce labor and tighter lending standards still limit construction. …If housing starts continue at the current yearly pace of around 1.6 million and new families keep forming at the rate of one million annually reported by the Census Bureau, home builders may finally begin filling in the gaping housing hole created in the 2007-09 recession. “That’s a good sign, but is it enough? No,” said Mr. Khater, of Freddie Mac. “The lack of affordable housing is the biggest economic obstacle we face right now. [a WSJ subscription is required to access the full story]

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Best Housing Market in a Decade Could Succumb to Coronavirus

By Prashant Gopal & Noah Buhayar
Bloomberg Markets
March 10, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. housing market, which was headed for a hot spring-selling season, may not be so healthy after all. As the expanding coronavirus outbreak slows economic activity, roiling markets around the world, there’s a 60% chance of the U.S. economy going into a recession this year, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. …“Housing is being buffeted by two gale forces moving in opposite directions,” Zandi said, referring to low rates and virus-fueled economic turmoil. “The question is, what’s the end result of all that? In all likelihood, the recession will trump the lower rates.”

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Plummeting oil prices and mortgage rates could boost consumers rattled by coronavirus fears

By Emma Newburger
CNBC Markets
March 8, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

… It’s positive news for consumers in the short term, even as some economists warn that the virus could tip the U.S economy into recessionas the outbreak escalates. The drop in mortgage rates and oil prices could boost consumer confidence… A boost in consumer confidence, in turn, could ease those recession fears. “The U.S. economy is 70% consumer driven,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital. “A drop in gasoline prices acts like a tax cut, freeing up money to spend in other sectors of the economy, especially discretionary sectors, such as travel and leisure and dining.” The relentless pace of headlines related to the coronavirus, however, could ultimately act as a psychological break on any boost in confidence. 

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Exceptional Job Gains for February

By Jing Fu
NAHB – Eye on Housing
March 6, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The U.S. job market remained strong in February. Total payroll employment increased by 273,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.5% for the month. Residential construction employment increased by 21,900 in February, after a revised increase of 22,400 in January. Total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment totaled about 7.6 million in February. …Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5% in February, from 3.6% in January. It remained near a 50-year low.

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The Slowing Growth of Residential Remodelling

The Kitchen & Bath Design News
March 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

Housing starts ended 2019 at a 13-year high, posting gains in both single- and multi-family production. Total starts for 2019 reached 1.29 million units, up 3.2% over 2018; single-family starts totaled 888,200, up 1.4%, while multi-family starts rose 7.3%, to 401,600 units. …Spending for improvements and repairs on owner-occupied homes is expected to rise “only modestly” in 2020… 1.5% in 2020, compared with annual gains of 5-7% in recent years. Chris Herbert… “added that, despite the “lackluster” growth, homeowner remodeling spending this year is still set to expand to more than $330 billion.

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How the Coronavirus Could Impact the American Real Estate Market

By Liz Brumer-Smith
The Motley Fool
March 10, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

No one truly knows how the coronavirus may impact the US real estate market, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to figure it out. Here are my predictions:

  • Foreign buyers of residential real estate will increase, at least for a while as confidence in their own real estate and other foreign markets falters.
  • Revenue and growth in commercial real estate would be the hardest hit because people will likely stay indoors, lowering consumer spending.
  • Shaky ground gets shakier… as the global market and American economy was already on shaky ground prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • It’s likely markets will remain volatile with the residential market remaining mostly unchanged for now.
  • There is a large chance that the continued spread of the coronavirus could tip the US economy into a full-blown recession.

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Coronavirus Australia: Queensland researchers find ‘cure’, want drug trial

By Sarah McPhee
News.com.au
March 17, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Professor David Paterson

A team of Australian researchers say they’ve found a cure for the novel coronavirus and hope to have patients enrolled in a nationwide trial by the end of the month. University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research director Professor David Paterson told news.com.au today they have seen two drugs used to treat other conditions wipe out the virus in test tubes. He said one of the medications, given to some of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Australia, had already resulted in “disappearance of the virus” and complete recovery from the infection. …One of the two medications is a HIV drug, which has been superseded by “newer generation” HIV drugs, and the other is an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine which is rarely used and “kept on the shelf now” due to resistance to malaria.

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State forest company puts over €35 million from 2019 profits into coffers

ERR News Estonia
March 13, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

The State Forest Management Center (RMK) is to pay over €35 million, around half its 2019 profit, to the state in the form of a dividend, following a better than expected 2019, Baltic News Service reports. The RMK supervisory board endorsed the company’s audited annual report for 2019, which reported a revenue of €218.7 million and an operating profit of €75.6 million. The previous year’s figures were €209.1 million and €88.9 million respectively, according to BNS. The bulk of RMK’s income came from timber sales, thanks to buoyant prices in the first half of 2019.

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China increase softwood lumber imports by 14% in 2019

By Wood Resources International
Lesprom Network
March 13, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: International

Global trade of softwood logs in 2019 remained practically unchanged from 2018 at 93 million m3, reported Wood Resources International. As much as 45% of globally shipped logs were destined for China. Sawlog prices continued their decline on all continents in late 2019. By far the biggest price reductions in 2019 occurred in Europe, particularly in the central region of the continent. In the 4Q 2019, the GSPI sawlog price index dropped for the seventh consecutive quarter to its lowest level since early 2016.

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US stocks halted after falling 7%. Global stocks plunge as oil crashes and coronavirus fear spreads

By Laura He, Clare Duffy and Julia Horowitz
CNN Business
March 9, 2020
Category: Finance & Economics

Global markets are plunging after the implosion of an alliance between OPEC and Russia caused the worst one-day crash in crude prices in nearly 30 years, fueling panic triggered by the escalation of the coronavirus epidemic. The S&P 500 fell about 6%. The Dow fell as many as 2,046 points. …The New York Stock Exchange halted trading for 15 minutes after stocks plunged more than 7%. They retraced some of their losses after the market reopened.

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