The building boom for new houses in the U.S., a jump in plywood prices and steady shipments of pulp and fibreboard to China spell good news for West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., one of Canada’s largest forest product companies.
West Fraser earned $1.45 per share in the third quarter, compared with 42 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
The weaker Canadian dollar and increases in lumber prices in the U.S. market helped lift West Fraser, and third quarter “results were better than expected,” Wes Swanson of RBC Capital Markets wrote in a research report.
“Management noted that spruce-pine-fir shipments to China were steady in the quarter (which is encouraging),” Swanson wrote.
Swanson warned, however, that West Fraser faces higher prices for logs, “particularly in regions of B.C. impacted by the mountain pine beetle.”
Trade storm clouds also loom. The U.S.-Canadian softwood lumber deal expired a year ago, and “management believes that the U.S. government will support any U.S. lumber industry petition although it believes there is no basis for trade action,” reads the research note.
U.S. lumber producers have long contended the Canadian in