Prices have surged 37 percent this year, more than any of the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index. Lumber has more than doubled since January 2009, when the recession and a collapse in the U.S. housing market left a glut of wood. Since then, output plunged in Russia while China boosted imports, limiting supplies in North America just as demand rebounds, according to International Wood Markets Group.
Housing starts that in October reached an annual rate of 894,000, the highest since July 2008, may exceed 1 million a month by the end of 2013, Michelle Meyer, a New York-based senior economist at Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. lender by assets, said earlier this month. U.S. building permits, a proxy for future construction, reached a four-year high in September, government data show.