N. American lumber prices jump to seven-month high

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North American lumber prices have risen to a seven-month high as the lingering effects of flooding in Western Canada disrupt supplies and shipments.

Lumber futures have jumped 3.8% to $1,219 U.S. per 1,000 board feet in Chicago trading, touching their highest price since June 2021.

Prices have been climbing since rainstorms hit British Columbia in November, damaging highways and rail lines and forcing sawmills to temporarily shutdown. Persistent supply logjams and strong demand are fueling the current rally.

The surge adds to swelling homebuilding costs when consumers are already paying more for goods ranging from food to fuel.

Soaring lumber prices in the past four months have boosted the price of an average new single-family home by more than $18,600 U.S., according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Lumber is the most common building material for North American homes and as much as 15% of the wood used in the U.S. comes from British Columbia, according to ERA Forest Products Research.

Wood prices have been volatile since the global pandemic began. They touched record highs in May after COVID-19 lockdowns spurred a building boom, then collapsed as sawmills ramped up production and high prices stifled demand.

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