Southern Tree Growers Miss Out On Lumber Boom

Lumber prices are soaring. Why are tree growers miserable?  The Wall Street Journal explains that sawmills are running as close to capacity as pandemic precautions will allow and are unable to keep up with lumber demand. The problem for timber growers is that so many trees have been planted between the Carolinas and Texas that mills are paying the lowest prices in decades for logs. (Wall Street Journal)

The log-lumber divergence has been painful for thousands of Southerners who are counting on pine trees for income and as a way to hold on to family land. And it has been incredibly profitable for forest-products companies that have been buying mills in the South. Three Canadian firms— Canfor Corp. CFPZF 0.27% , Interfor Corp. IFP 5.74% and West Fraser Timber Co. WFG 2.05% —control about one-third of the South’s lumber-making capacity. Since bottoming out last March, shares of the Canadian sawyers have risen more than 300%, compared with a 73% climb of the S&P 500 index.