Due to the US government ¡®shutdown¡¯ trade statistics
were not available for this report
US shutdown hits growth and consumer sentiment
More than 800,000 US government workers remain
furloughed or working without pay as the longest
government shutdown in US history passed the one-month
mark. Currently, several agencies are affected by the
partial shutdown (including those responsible for the
collection and reporting of economic and trade data).
Consumer sentiment declined in early January to its lowest
level since president Trump was elected. The decline was
primarily focused on prospects for the domestic economy,
with the year-ahead outlook for the national economy
judged the worst since mid-2014.
The loss was due to a host of issues including the partial
government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in
financial markets, the global slowdown and the lack of
clarity about monetary policy.
The University of Michigan survey of consumer
confidence says ¡°consumers now sense a need to buttress
their precautionary savings, which is typically done by
reducing their discretionary spending. Evolving job and
wage prospects, which were slightly weaker in early
January, are critical to extending the current(US)
Canadian hardwood imports rose in November
Canadian imports of tropical sawnwood rose by 28% in
November compared to October but imports year to date
still trail 2017 by 14%. Sapelli, iroko, virola, imbuia, and
balsa imports to Canada are all down between a quarter
and a third from 2017. Imports from Ecuador, Cameroon
and Brazil are off significantly year to date, while imports
have increased over 2017 from Ghana, Indonesia,
Malaysia and the U.S.
US manufacturing continues to expand but hardwoods
in short supply
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in
December and the overall economy grew for the 116th
consecutive month according to US supply executives
surveyed in the latest Manufacturing Institute of Supply
Management Report on Business.
While executives say overall demand is softening, they
reported growth in wood products manufacturing and
noted hardwood is a commodity currently in short supply.
US Housing starts for small families down, sales
Affordability issues continue to hinder single-family
housing production in the US even as total housing starts
increased in November. Overall housing starts rose 3.2 %
in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26
million units from a downwardly revised October reading.
Year to date, new housing starts are 5.1% above their level
over the same period last year.
The November reading of 1.26 million is the number of
housing units builders would start if they maintained this
pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number,
single-family starts fell 4.6% to 824,000. Single-family
production has now dropped for the third straight month.
Meanwhile, multifamily starts¡ªwhich include apartment
buildings and condos¡ªrose 22.4% to 432,000.
Overall permits¡ªwhich are an indicator of future housing
production¡ªrose 5% in November to 1.39 million. Singlefamily
permits inched up 0.1% to a 848,000 unit pace
while multifamily permits rose 14.8% to an annualized
rate of 480,000.
Looking at the regional numbers on a year-to-date basis,
combined single-family and multifamily housing starts
rose 11% in the West and 5.3% in the South. Starts fell
0.8% in the Northeast and 1.9% in the Midwest.
See press release:
According to press statements from the National
Association of Realtors, existing-home sales declined
sharply in December following two consecutive months of
increases. All four major US regions saw declines in sales
activity compared to the previous month. In 2018 sales
declined in all four regions, ranging from 6.8% in the
Northeast of the US to 15% in the West.