|Contract||Random Length Lumber|
|Tick Size||10 cents per thousand board feet ($11.00 per contract)|
|Daily Limit||$36.00 per thousand board feet ($3,960 per contract) Expanded limit $36.00|
|Contract Size||110,000 board foot|
|Months||Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Nov (F, H, K, N, U, X)|
|Trading Hours||9:00a.m. - 3:05p.m. Mon-Thur (Settles 1:05p.m.) CST|
|Value of One Futures Unit||$110|
|Value of One Options Unit||$110|
|Last Trading Day||Business day immediately preceding the 16th calendar day of the contract month|
Humans have utilized lumber for construction for thousands of years, but due to the heaviness of timber and the manual methods of harvesting, large-scale lumbering didn't occur until the mechanical advances of the Industrial Revolution. Lumber is produced from both hardwood and softwood. Hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees that have broad leaves. Most hardwood lumber is used for miscellaneous industrial applications, primarily wood pallets, and includes oak, gum, maple, and ash. Hardwood species with beautiful colors and patterns are used for such high-grade products as furniture, flooring, paneling, and cabinets and include black walnut, black cherry, and red oak. Wood from cone-bearing trees is called softwood, regardless of its actual hardness. Most lumber from the U.S. is softwood. Softwoods, such as southern yellow pine, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and true firs, are primarily used as structural lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s, poles, paper, and cardboard.
Plywood consists of several thin layers of veneer bonded together with adhesives. The veneer sheets are layered so that the grain of one sheet is perpendicular to that of the next, which makes plywood exceptionally strong for its weight. Most plywood has from three to nine layers of wood. Plywood manufacturers use both hard and soft woods, although hardwoods serve primarily for appearance and are not as strong as those made from softwoods. Plywood is primarily used in construction, particularly for floors, roofs, walls, and doors. Homebuilding and remodeling account for two-thirds of U.S. lumber consumption. The price of lumber and plywood is highly correlated with the strength of the U.S. home-building market.
The forest and wood products industry is dominated by Weyerhaeuser Company (ticker symbol WY), which has about $20 billion in annual sales. Weyerhaeuser is a forest products conglomerate that engages not only in growing and harvesting timber, but also in the production and distribution of forest products, real estate development, and construction of single-family homes. Forest products include wood products, pulp and paper, and containerboard. The timberland segment of the business manages 7.2 million acres of company-owned land and 800,000 acres of leased commercial forestlands in North America. The company's Canadian division has renewable, long-term licenses on about 35 million acres of forestland in five Canadian provinces. In order to maximize its long-term yield from its acreage, Weyerhaeuser engages in a number of forest management activities such as extensive planting, suppression of non-merchantable species, thinning, fertilization, and operational pruning.
Lumber futures and options are traded at the CME Group. The CME Group's lumber futures contract calls for the delivery of 111,000 board feet (one 73-foot rail car) of random length 8 to 12-foot 2 x 4s, the type used in construction. The contract is priced in terms of dollars per thousand board feet.
Prices - CME lumber futures prices (Barchart.com electronic symbol code LS) on the nearest-futures chart opened the year 2021 at about $873 per thousand board feet, rallied sharply to a record high in May of $1,711 per thousand board, and then fell back moderately the rest of the year to close +31.5% at $1,148 per thousand board feet which was a new all-time high.
Supply - The U.S. leads the world in the production of industrial round wood. In 2020, U.S. production was 369.175 million cubic meters (-4.8% yr/yr), Russian production was 201.891 million cubic meters (-0.6% yr/yr), and Canadian production was 130.430 cubic meters (-6.7% yr/yr).
The U.S. also led the world in the production of plywood in 2020 with 9.500 million cubic meters of production (-4.3% yr/yr), followed by Russia with 3.999 million cubic meters (-1.5% yr/yr), and then Japan with 3.340 million cubic meters (unchanged yr/yr).
Trade - World exports of plywood in 2020 fell by -6.3% yr/yr to 28.224 million cubic meters. The world's largest exporter of plywood is Russia, with a 10.3% share of world plywood exports in 2020, followed by Finland with 2.9%, and Canada and the Baltic States, each with 1.9%. In 2020 U.S. exports fell by -5.0% yr/yr to 528.000 million cubic meters.
World exports of industrial roundwood in 2020 fell by -1.1% yr/yr to 133.814 million cubic meters. Russia was the world's largest exporter of roundwood in 2020 with an 12.2% share of world exports, followed by the Czech Republic with a 13.6% share, Germany with a 9.3% share, the U.S. with a 5.5% share, and Canada with a 4.5% share. Russian exports of industrial roundwood in 2020 rose by 2.6% yr/yr to 16.276 million cubic meters. U.S. exports of industrial roundwood in 2020 fell by -7.2% yr/yr to 7.355 million cubic meters.
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