Lumber Crash … Economy, Next?

Lumber futures’ follows familiar ‘crash’ pattern.

From a July futures contract high of $1,711/thousand board-feet, futures prices have crashed to $1,284/thousand board-feet, in less than a month.

As this ZeroHedge article states, the futures collapse was precipitated by delays in construction.

Those delays were because of … well, high prices.

Now, the cycle starts.

Delays precipitated the price collapse. That in turn, will cause more delays as construction entities wait for lower prices.

Those lower prices could materialize. Right along with project cancellations from contract loss, job loss, earnings downturns and on.

Personal anecdote below (skip to ‘Analysis’ if not interested):

Yesterday, a trip was made to the local home improvement store … the one with the orange logo.

During robust economic times, the loading area at the lumber ‘contractors’ end, is so busy that pickups, flatbeds and trailers, are lined up in double rows.

This time, walking into the contractors entrance, there were no customers in the loading area. Treated fence pickets were stacked two – three bundles high in rows. At the same time last year, there we none available.

Going inside and down the lumber isles, inventory was well stocked.

The treated 4X4s were available (although more expensive) and another re-stock bundle was available to be pulled from an upper rack.

Treated 4X4s, are high volume sellers at that location (Ft. Worth area). It’s a good gage of economic activity.

Last year at the same time, there were no 4X4s in that rack for several months in a row.

At the time, similar reports of such were being presented by Uneducated Economist. No treated 4X4s, anywhere.

In the lumber isles, there were just a handful of customers (mom and pop types) and absolutely no professionals or contractors.

The lumber carts, typically called ‘H-Carts’ because of their H shape, were plentiful and all lined up on the main isle. That’s also different from a year ago when it was so busy, customers had to go search for their own carts out in the parking lot.

There was one cashier and nobody in line.

This is all happening around 5:00 p.m., on a Friday.

One Friday does not a trend make … but it is a data point. The lumber area of this store on a Friday afternoon (when contractors typically get stock for the weekend) was dead.


We’ll look at one of the usual suspects in the lumber industry; Weyerhaeuser (WY).

On the daily chart below, it topped and reversed right along with the futures. Its had a decisive trend break as well.

If we’ve seen the top in the lumber futures and if we’ve just had a crash, the events that follow, play out like a script.

Prices stabilize at some point and begin a counter trend move.

Everyone (almost) is fooled into thinking it’s coming back … until another break lower. That’s when the real panic starts; in the market as well as the economy.

Biotech, SPBIO is in this position now

After the initial reversal, prices stabilized; then came back in a counter trend. Thus far, they have reversed at the 23.6%, level.


It’s probably an accurate statement, that nobody really knows what’s going to happen as a result of ‘speck’ injection. Seems like all information could be compromised (controlled opposition) in one way or another.

However, what tends to repeat with high levels of probability are specific set-ups in price action.

Price action is truth.

Above, we see WY either traded at a particular level, or it did not.

Once a crash scenario (if that’s what we have) like lumber futures gets set in motion, it will be years and potentially decades before prices return to or exceed the highs.

Stay Tuned

Charts by StockCharts

Note:  Posts on this site are for education purposes only.  They provide one firm’s insight on the markets.  Not investment advice.  See additional disclaimer here.

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  1. Pingback: Random Notes « The Danger Point

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