By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A building materials supplier said lumber prices have “flattened out considerably” riding the wave of greater supply and availability.
Christopher Lleida, chief executive officer of Premier Importers, told Tribune Business yesterday prices have started to come down in the last three months by 20 percent.
Mr Lleida said: “Lumber prices have actually come down considerably. I think is just probably increased supply because I’m going to say three plus months ago supply were a bit iffy, and it kind of varies because plywood prices have dropped. I mean, they flattened out considerably.
“I know from the orders we have coming in, but they aren’t in stock yet, but prices will be coming down considerably,” said Mr Lleida.
He cautioned, however: “While we are the bully marker and we go up and down with the tide and whichever way the wind blows, we have zero control over these things.
“So, there’s still an issue with freight coming out of South America and Asia and I don’t know when that will ever straighten out, because I heard China’s second largest port had one case of COVID-19 and they shut the whole port down and this port handles thousands of containers a day.”
Shipping out of East Asia has been a significant problem for Bahamian businesses with partners in China due to logistics challenges. Earlier in the year, Chinese ships could not find containers due to a shortage. In addition, the price for containers have doubled in many instances, when what companies would have paid an average of $7,000 they are now paying upwards of $12,000 per container.
Mr Lleida said: “You have one glitch here and another glitch there. Shipping companies are also faced with equipment shortages and other things like that.
“I would say that workers went back to the saw mills. There must be an economy of scale that they use if demand stays high then it is worthwhile for us to keep doing this. There is no difference with oil wells, they will shut down when the price of oil drops below a certain point then when oil gets back to a certain point, they start pumping again.”
Whether or not this price drop will be carried over into the end of year is unknown, but for right now there are no wild fluctuations expected in the lumber market unless something major happens, advised Mr Lleida.
Gary Burrows, Tops Lumber and Plumbing’s general manager, agreed that prices have begun to come down but for him it is only on treated 2x4’s.
He said: “2x4’s dropped some, but we didn’t have anything come in recently that prices have dropped significantly, just those 2x4s now. I think some prices are coming down on the market, but we didn’t have anything come in as yet.
“It could possibly be an increase in supply causing the prices to trend downwards, but I can’t say with certainty but I would assume so.
“Certain things are still sky high... like formed plywood and the other kinds of plywood, I have not seen a decrease in prices there yet.”