Softwood Lumber Price Index at Highest Level Since September 2004

The prices of softwood lumber and OSB increased by 2.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, in May according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increases were a return to the 2017 norm, as softwood lumber and OSB have led building materials price gains in every month except April, when gypsum prices rose 5.1 percent. In contrast, prices paid for gypsum and ready-mix concrete fell for the first time since January, decreasing by 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, in May.

Unsurprisingly, the price of softwood lumber increased yet again in May. The increase pushed the softwood lumber price index to its highest level since September 2004. At that time, the prior U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade dispute had been ongoing for over three years and prices had increased 38.5 percent since the expiration of the previous agreement in April 2001. The price index of softwood lumber has increased 12.9 percent since the beginning of 2017 and is 21.6 percent higher than it was in January 2016.

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