If the scarcity of 4/4 Poplar is an example of things to come in the new “reduced size” hardwood lumber business, then we may be in for an interesting next few years. It would seem like that within a few months Poplar went from its typical “lots of it at bargain prices” to nearly unavailable and prices rising daily on it. We are being quoted prices that are 20% higher than just 30 days ago, IF we can find any. Weather, logging conditions, etc. all play a part in the scarcity of hardwood lumber this time of year, and Poplar is one of the easier and quicker items for sawmills to produce, but there is no doubt that a ramp-up in demand could bring some real shortages in Poplar and other species. As distributors like us find hardwood lumber more difficult to source and lead times stretch out for getting it, we will react by “hedging” our situation and ordering that extra load or two or three. Extrapolate that across the globe and all of a sudden the situation can get interesting and frustrating quickly. We have been accustomed through this recession to a buyer’s market where demand has been very soft, but things can and do always change eventually.