Lumber Falls as Damp Weather in U.S. Hampers Home Building

Lumber futures fell the most in more than a week, capping the longest stretch of declines since 1999, as unseasonably cold and wet weather hampers home building in much on the U.S.

Through April 27, 2,949 daily precipitation records were set or tied in the U.S., which was 438 more than all of April 2012, according to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. During the same period, 3,368 daily low-temperature records were set or tied in the U.S., compared to 531 in April 2012, according to the data center. Lumber futures have tumbled 15 percent since reaching an eight-year high in March.

“The spring weather has delayed some new construction by a few weeks,” Paul Quinn, a Vancouver-based analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a telephone interview. “There are also signs that we’re seeing a production response to higher lumber prices, so there may be more lumber coming.”

Lumber futures for delivery in July declined 1 percent to settle at $351.80 per 1,000 board feet on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest drop since April 17. Prices have fallen for nine straight sessions, the longest run since Sept. 29, 1999.

Price surged 44 percent in 2012 and 4.3 percent last quarter amid increased U.S. construction and demand from China.

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