News Releases

SierraPine and Arauco Announce Withdrawal of HSR Filing Related to Asset Purchase Agreement

October 1, 2014

 

Roseville, CA — SierraPine and Arauco North America announce today the withdrawal of their Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act filing submitted in relation to the previously announced Asset Purchase Agreement dated January 13, 2014. Per the agreement, Arauco would have acquired certain SierraPine assets including the Medford, OR Springfield, OR, and Martell, CA composite panel plants. The companies determined that the necessary regulatory approvals, including clearance from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, cannot be obtained through any route other than protracted and costly litigation.

"SierraPine remains well positioned with the forecasted growth in housing starts, repair and remodeling, and strong distribution channels. We are an industry leader, have a solid balance sheet, and will continue to meet customer needs and pursue opportunities to improve our business," said SierraPine Jeff Johnson.

The partners of SierraPine will continue to focus their engergies to support the SierraPine team in producing quality products for their customers. 


10/1/2014 12:23:28 PM


US housing recovery appears to be back on track

 

 
 
 

 

A fourth straight monthly increase in sales of existing homes provided the latest evidence Thursday that the U.S. housing market is rebounding from a weak start to the year.

Housing has been a drag on an otherwise strengthening economy, in part because a harsh winter delayed many sales. But Americans are stepping up purchases as more homes have been put up for sale. And low mortgage rates and moderating price gains have made homes more affordable.

"The momentum is in the right direction," said Andrew Labelle, an economist at TD Bank who noted that the past four months have marked the fastest four-month sales gain since 2011. "Sustained jobs gains, as well as the fall in mortgage rates since the beginning of the year, appear to have unleashed at least some pent-up demand."

Sales of existing homes rose 2.4 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That was the highest annual rate since September of last year.

The increase follows other encouraging signs that the housing market is improving. The pace of home construction starts surged 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million homes, the government said this week. Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, also strengthened last month.

And a survey of homebuilders released Monday showed that they were more confident about future sales.

The encouraging readings contrast with reports earlier this year, when weak sales and limited building led economists to characterize housing as a faltering piece of the economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer had pointed to housing as an economic weak spot.

Economists noted that housing still hasn't fully recovered from its slowdown earlier this year. The annual sales pace remains 4.3 percent below last July's rate. And construction has merely returned to its pace in October; it has yet to exceed it.

Yet economists say they're encouraged by signs that the latest sales gains are sustainable.

Stephanie Karol, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said a "virtuous cycle" is emerging: More homeowners are listing their properties for sale. A greater supply of homes then encourages more potential buyers to take the plunge. And that, in turn, helps sustain modest price gains, which lead more people to sell.

"This is exactly the sort of pattern we want to see," Karol said.

The number of homes for sale rose 3.5 percent in July from June to 2.37 million, the most in nearly two years.

Affordability is improving. The median price slipped a bit in July from June to $222,900, the Realtors said. Though that was still 4.9 percent more than a year ago, year-over-year price gains have slowed.

And the average rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 4.1 percent this week, the lowest level this year, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. At the start of the year, the average rate was 4.53 percent.

A study released Thursday by data provider Zillow found that home buyers paid just 15.3 percent of their incomes on the mortgage for a typical home at the end of the April-June quarter. That's much lower than the 22.1 percent share during the housing bubble that ended in 2006.

The Realtors report also showed that healthy sales make up a rising share of purchases. Fewer home sales stem from foreclosures or involve homes for which the seller owed more on their mortgage than the home was worth.

Those "distressed" sales made up just 9 percent of sales in July — the lowest proportion since the Realtors began tracking the figure in October 2008. Distressed sales, which tend to drag down neighborhood prices, had made up 36 percent of sales in 2009.

Many distressed sales were made to investors, including private equity firms. They bought large numbers of homes and drove up overall sales in 2011 and 2012.

Ron Peltier, CEO of HomeServices America, a real estate brokerage affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway, noted that those sales weren't sustainable.

"We were seeing sales in clumps," he said. "Now we're seeing sales the good old-fashioned way: One at a time."

First-time homebuyers made up 29 percent of sales in July, up slightly from June and the second straight gain. Still, that's well below the typical figure of 40 percent. First-time buyers are critical to a housing recovery, in part because they enable homeowners seeking to buy larger homes to sell.

First-time buyers are likely benefiting from strong job gains. Hiring since February has reached its healthiest pace since 2006. But first-timers also face higher credit standards and down-payment requirements, making it harder for many to qualify for mortgages.

——

Contact Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber

 


8/21/2014 6:07:24 PM


U.S. moulding consumption poised for a bull market rally

 

 

Improving U.S. Moulding Market Spurring on a Rise in Imports

Vancouver, BC - August 12, 2014 

International WOOD MARKETS Group announces the release of the 9th Edition of its acclaimed

U.S Clear Pine Lumber & Moulding Market Outlook: 2014- 2018. Consolidation of manufacturing both domestically and offshore continues to set the stage for interesting market dynamics as U.S. demand moves into high gear now anticipated for later half of 2014 and into 2015.

 

After enduring four years of declining demand of epic proportions, underlying demand is beginning to re-emerge. "Although not the strong start the industry was anticipating for 2014, the results in the second half of this year should build on the demand gains made in 2013", comments co-author Russell Taylor.

 

After six months of research that included discussions with most of the major clear pine lumber and moulding industry players in North America and the Southern Hemisphere, and following extensive modelling and forecasting work, the lead author of the report Mr. Butzelaar's overriding conclusion is that a wave of demand is coming and so are higher prices. WOOD MARKETS is projecting U.S. housing starts to surpass 1 million starts in 2014 followed by an additional 125,000 starts in 2015. As the labour market and income levels improves, housing demand will see accelerating growth as will residential repair and remodelling (R&R) - the two main drivers of moulding demand. However, due to mill closures, supply chain consolidation, and limited supplies of domestic clear pine fiber, traditional moulding supply in North America is forecast to struggle to keep up with demand.  

 

Some of the critical findings of the report include:

  • Clear pine material supply within the U.S. is forecast to expand some 20% over the next five years, yet the forecast volumes are still less than a third of what they were in the early 1990's - pre spotted owl era.  "Although domestic moulding and millwork industry is far smaller less than it once was, to meet the forecast domestic demand for raw material, the industry will have to become ever more dependent on imported clear pine material, primarily from regions with plantation pine forests" states Mr. Butzelaar.
  • U.S. moulding consumption increased by 12% in 2013 on gains attributed to housing starts that rose by 143,000 units to 925,000 units and a more moderate uptick in repair and R&R. Based on a projected slower rate of growth in 2014 housing activity, WOOD MARKETS is projecting a 4% growth in moulding consumption for this year followed by more robust and accelerating growth in the mid to later years of its 5 year forecast as the U.S. economic recovery gains momentum.
  • Imports of softwood mouldings continue to gain a larger share of the moulding market climbing to over 40% of total consumption in 2013 with further increases projected for 2014. As Mr. Butzelaar notes, "the re-emergence of China as one of the top four importing countries of softwood moulding products is creating a lot of interest around whether this is a temporary blip or the start of something much bigger." The report highlights what products the Chinese are bringing in, what species they are consuming, from where they are getting their raw material inputs, and what is the growth potential for Chinese moulding imports over the next five years.
  • The market share for traditional solid lineal pine mouldings is losing ground to alternatives mouldings made from hardwoods, plastic, as well as paint-grade mouldings made from finger-joint or MDF. Paint-grade mouldings are projected to account for almost 85% of moulding consumption in 2014 with this number to grow in future years.
  • As Mr. Butzelaar explains, "given our outlook for rising moulding demand combined with the heavy concentration of supply among the top domestic and offshore producers, we anticipate that moulding producers will continue to manage supply leading to record higher prices in the next few years."

Based on WOOD MARKETS in depth knowledge of the industry and the drivers impacting its future, the U.S. Clear Pine Lumber & Moulding Market Outlook report remains the preeminent source for information on what lies ahead for producers and distributors. The key output of the report is the dramatic change in prices that are expected - they are going to soar at times from strong demand and from a hollowed out supply chain that won't be able to respond fast enough when surges occur.

 

This summary provides just some of the critical strategic topics addressed in the just released U.S Clear Pine Lumber & Moulding Market Outlook: 2014- 2018. This 9th Edition report strives to assist senior management to steer the course and capitalize on the coming market opportunities by providing insight, supporting data, and price forecasts that are not available anywhere else. This report predicts where the market is headed for mouldings and domestic and offshore raw material inputs over the next five years.

 

To review a complete table of contents as well as subscription information, please visit our webpage 

http://www.woodmarkets.com

 

 

 


8/18/2014 5:24:00 PM


Three reasons why the US housing market won't be back to normal anytime soon
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By Stan Humphries June 30, 2014

Stan Humphries is the chief economist at Zillow, the online real-estate marketplace.

 

Recent housing data are noisy, and often conflicting—are we back to normal, or in another bubble? The truth is, compared to what we’ve been through, we’re much better off.
 
Nationally, home values were up 5.4% year-over-year at the end of May, and are expected to rise another 2.9% over the next year. But even as prices rise, home values largely remain below their pre-crash peaks. Currently, the median home in the US is valued at $172,300, down more than 12% from peak. Interest rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, while up from the record lows of a year ago, are still incredibly low at about 4%.
 
And yet we aren’t back to normal, not by a long shot.

 

http://goo.gl/aln1cv

 

 


7/7/2014 3:01:59 PM


American Wood Council and Canadian Wood Council announce medium density fiberboard and particleboard EPDs

 

 

 

LEESBURG, Va. – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of new environmental product declarations (EPD) for medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard, bringing the available EPDs for North American wood products to nine.

 

All of the EPDs and accompanying transparency briefs are available free on the AWC website.

 

EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories and an independent certifier of products and their sustainable attributes.

 

"We are pleased to partner with the Canadian Wood Council to make these EPDs available. With the growing interest by the design community to select products for which EPDs are available, we are confident the MDF and particleboard EPDs will be popular," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski.

 

“The composite panel industry is based on the recovery of forestry residuals to fabricate high-value construction and consumer products, and our EPDs yet again showcase the unmatched environmental performance of renewable wood,” said Composite Panel Association (CPA) President Tom Julia. “CPA members are proud to have supported the development of the Life Cycle Inventory and Life Cycle Assessment reports upon which these EPDs are based.  Specifiers, designers and fabricators now have an important new tool to objectively compare wood products with those made of plastic, metal or other materials.”

 

Based on international standards (ISO 14025 and ISO 21930), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as use of resources, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

 

For more information and to download currently available EPDs and transparency briefs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.php.

 


1/30/2014 4:14:05 PM


The aging housing stock

 

 

 

NAHB Eye on Housing

 

The American housing stock continues to age; a trend that represents an opportunity for remodelers and over the long term may signal a future increased demand for new home construction.
 
According to the latest data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of an owner-occupied home in the United States was 35 years old as of the 2011 survey. The median age reported in the 1985 AHS was only 23 years old.

 

http://goo.gl/xPhEdr

 


1/23/2014 1:16:09 PM


Flakeboard and SierraPine announce asset purchase

January 14, 2014

Markham, Canada — Today, Flakeboard America Limited, a US subsidiary of Arauco, has agreed to buy the western US panel assets of SierraPine, a California limited partnership, consisting of two particleboard plants located in California and Oregon, and an MDF plant in Oregon.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the Arauco plants in North Amercia will have an installed panel capacity of 2 billion feet sq. ft. (3/4" basis) or 3.5 million cubic meters, adding to the capacity of the composite panel plants that Arauco holds in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

According to Flakeboard President Kelly Shotbolt, "We are extremely excited about our proposed purchase of SierraPine, and specifically the benefits that addtional western facilities add in terms of product offering, manufacutring locations, and employee experience. Combined with existing Flakeboard mills, the transaction will bring new opportunities for our customers, our combined employees, and the communities in which we operate."

The two companies are targeting a closing during the first quarter of 2014. The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals.

 

 


1/14/2014 11:47:20 AM


House prices rise again, but the pace could slow

New York Times


It was a great year for the stock market. And it was also a pretty good year for many people’s biggest investment: their homes.
 
In 2013’s last glimpse at the housing market, figures released on Tuesday showed that home prices in major metro areas kept rising in October. Year-over-year, prices were up 13.6 percent, the biggest gain in more than seven years.

http://goo.gl/iYJOmq

 

 


1/3/2014 2:10:20 PM


New home sales, durable goods, Richmond Fed Mfg Survey and more

 

Calculated Risk

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 05:36 PM PST

China remains a risk, from the WSJ: China Cash Crunch Shows Central Bank's Difficulties

A cash crunch among China's banks intensified, highlighting the difficulties faced by the central bank in managing an increasingly stressed financial system.
...
The current squeeze is driven by several factors, analysts said. One is a little-noticed drop in China's year-end government spending. ... Banks are becoming more cautious and are hoarding more cash for future needs in case the cash squeeze worsens. Some of them are also boosting provisions for potential loan defaults.
...
"To prevent systemic risks, and reduce the impact on liquidity, the supervision of the interbank market will continue to be strengthened," analysts at Bank of China Ltd. said in a report Monday, adding that interbank lending was "accentuating hidden dangers" in the financial system. The rise in rates came despite the Chinese central bank's announcement late Friday that it had injected more than 300 billion yuan into the financial system over a three-day period following the increase in interbank rates last week.

Tuesday: All US markets will close early

• At 7:00 AM ET, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• At 8:30 AM, Durable Goods Orders for November from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 1.5% increase in durable goods orders.

• At 9:00 AM, the FHFA House Price Index for October 2013. This was original a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase.

• At 10:00 AM, New Home Sales for November from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for an increase in sales to 450 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in November from 444 thousand in October.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for December. The consensus is a reading of 10, down from 13 in November (above zero is expansion).

 


12/26/2013 4:14:09 PM


Comments: Housing Starts and Mortgage Index

 

By Bill McBride, Calculated Risk

Posted: 18 Dec 2013 08:46 AM PST

A few comments:

The MBA purchase index is down about 10% year-over-year, and this has led to some articles like this from CNBC: Mortgage applications plummet amid uncertainty

Purchase applications though are down 10 percent, mirroring a slowdown in home sales in many previously hot markets.

The slowdown in existing home sales is mostly due to less investor buying and fewer distressed sales (fewer cash buyers). Declining distressed sales, but increasing conventional sales - even if total sales decline - is a good sign!

And an important note on the Purchase Index: the index is probably understating purchase activity due to a change in the mix of lenders. There are more small lenders that focus on purchase loans (and sell to Fannie and Freddie), and these lenders are underrepresented in the purchase index. I discussed this two weeks ago with the MBA's Mike Fratantoni, and he told me:

[I]n the last couple of years ... independent mortgage bankers have accounted for a fast growing share of the purchase market ... We have actively recruited independents and smaller banks to get better coverage of the purchase market. ... It is likely that many of the lenders not in the survey have a higher purchase share and lower refi share.

The MBA index is useful, but housing starts and new home sales provide better information.

• Overall the housing starts report was encouraging with total starts at a 1.09 million rate on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR) in November. This was well above the consensus forecast of 952 thousand SAAR.  

• And the increase wasn't just in the volatile multi-family sector; single family starts were at the highest level since early 2008.

Also housing starts are up significantly from the same period last year. Over the first eleven months of 2013, total starts are up over 19% compared to the same period in 2012.  The increases in starts slowed in the 2nd half of 2013, but this has been a solid year for residential investment growth.

• Even with another significant year-over-year increase, housing starts are still very low. Starts averaged 1.5 million per year from 1959 through 2000, and demographics and household formation suggests starts will return to close to that level over the next few years. This suggests significantly more growth in housing starts over the next few years.

Here is an update to the graph comparing multi-family starts and completions. Since it usually takes over a year on average to complete a multi-family project, there is a lag between multi-family starts and completions. Completions are important because that is new supply added to the market, and starts are important because that is future new supply (units under construction is also important for employment).

These graphs use a 12 month rolling total for NSA starts and completions.

Multifamily Starts and completions
Click on graph for larger image.

The blue line is for multifamily starts and the red line is for multifamily completions.

The rolling 12 month total for starts (blue line) has been increasing steadily, and completions (red line) are lagging behind. It is interesting that completions have lagged so far behind starts, and this suggests completions will increase significantly in 2014 (completions lag starts by about 12 months).

However the level of multi-family starts over the last 12 months - close to the level in late '90s and early 00's - suggests that future growth in starts will mostly come from single family starts.

Single family Starts and completionsThe second graph shows single family starts and completions. It usually only takes about 6 months between starting a single family home and completion - so the lines are much closer. The blue line is for single family starts and the red line is for single family completions.

Starts are moving up and completions are following.  Usually single family starts bounce back quickly after a recession, but not this time because of the large overhang of existing housing units. 

Note the low level of single family starts and completions.  The "wide bottom" was what I was forecasting several years ago, and now I expect several years of increasing single family starts and completions.

 

 

To view the entire Calculated Risk Finance & Economics website: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/12/comments-housing-starts-and-mortgage.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CalculatedRisk+%28Calculated+Risk%29

 


12/18/2013 12:02:41 PM


Are we already back in a housing bubble?

Business Week

By Karen Weise

Home prices keep rising—and not just in some markets. For the first time since 2005, each of the country’s 50 most populous cities are seeing higher prices. While that could be a good sign for the economy, the market is showing signs of overheating and the current pace is not sustainable, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings.

The report regards home prices across the country as overvalued by about 17 percent. Conditions are worrisome in several markets, most of them in coastal California, where homes are more than 20 percent overvalued. San Francisco and San Jose will set new home price records in the next six months, according to Fitch. While Bay Area tech companies are booming, the region’s economy isn’t growing nearly as fast as the “unprecedented” home price gains, making the market nearly 30 percent overvalued. Current conditions in the heart of Silicon Valley are akin to “the environment in 2003,” the report notes ominously, “three years into the formation of the previous home price bubble.”

Prices are being driven by investor interest in flipping homes, another familiar phenomenon. Fitch estimates that half of all homes in the Bay Area are now bought with cash, Fitch says, and that’s “often indicative of investor behavior.”

The danger is that overvalued markets could stall if interest rates rise as the economy rebounds: “When an expectation of rising rates is coupled with rising price levels,” the report notes, “there could be increased pressure on the housing market that could reverse recent gains.” That echoes an argument that Zillow’s (Z)chief economist, Stan Humphries, made in April, when he said that low rates were acting like a “carnival funhouse mirror” that distorts reality. Cheap mortgages, he said, made home appear affordable when in fact, they were overvalued relative to what people are earning.

Rents are not climbing nearly as fast as purchase prices. It may be time to revisit a trusty ol’ rent vs. own calculator to see whether renting or owning makes more sense.

Weise is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York. Follow her on Twitter @kyweise.


11/12/2013 5:12:56 PM


Join the forest certification movement to meet your sustainability goals

 

Triple Pundit

 

By: Kathy Abusow, President & CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/10/join-forest-certification-movement-meet-sustainability-goals/

 

Most people treasure healthy forests and want to ensure that they are around for future generations. One of the best ways to do that is to promote responsible management of working forests through a powerful tool called forest certification: providing landowners with a rigorous, science-based standard of responsible forest management and verifying compliance through independent, third-party audits.

 

Since the mid-90s, the idea of forest certification has grown from a curiosity to the mainstream of North American conservation. Its value can be seen in hundreds of millions of acres of sustainably managed forests that support local communities while protecting wildlife habitat, clean water and soil, and other elements essential to our environment.

 

In North America, the key certification programs are the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Overseas, forestlands are certified to the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and various FSC standards for specific countries and regions.

 

But despite all this good work, today only 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified, which represents about a quarter of global round wood production. It’s vitally important for all of us to increase the percentage of timberland that is certified to a credible standard, while also promoting responsible forestry on uncertified lands.

 

Here’s how business leaders can support this movement.

 

Getting More Forests Certified

 

Major purchasers of forest products can support sustainable forestry by joining forces to promote responsible practices across the supply chain. For example, in 2012 we launched the SFI Forest Partners Program with founding partners Time Inc., National Geographic Society, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson – four leaders in publishing that committed to promoting sustainability by encouraging more landowners, manufacturers, distributors, customers, conservation groups and government agencies across the supply-chain to become certified. The program’s goal is to certify 10 million acres of forests to the SFI standard by 2017, starting in the U.S. South.

 

To give an example of how this program can work, look to South Carolina, where the Forestry Commission was interested in having five state forests certified but struggled in a tight budget environment for funding to demonstrate compliance and complete an independent third-party audit of sustainable practices. The Forest Partners stepped up to help, and last month, South Carolina was able to announce that 103,000 acres of land owned by the Forestry Commission and Clemson University were certified to the SFI and American Tree Farm System standards.

 

Promoting Responsible Forestry on Uncertified Forests

 

No matter how hard we all try, some forest land will remain uncertified. One reason is that 60 percent of private forest lands are owned by family forest owners; many harvest timber from their land, but it’s not their primary activity. But it’s essential to encourage them to keep their land forested and to practice responsible forestry.

 

Businesses that purchase wood, paper and packaging can play a role by seeking out certification standards that include fiber-sourcing requirements, which guide the procurement of raw material from uncertified lands. At SFI, for example, we require program participants who own or manage forest lands and those who buy raw materials to show that the fiber in their supply-chain comes from legal and responsible sources, utilizing loggers who are trained in best management practices for water quality; and that they conduct landowner outreach to promote prompt reforestation and measures to address invasive species and other basics associated with responsible forestry.

 

The future of our forests depends on the actions we take today. Everyone has a role to play in promoting responsible forestry. If you’re truly interested responsible procurement and meeting corporate sustainability goals, choose certified wood, paper, and packaging materials. And for a more proactive role in growing our certified supply, join Time Inc., National Geographic, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson in SFI’s Forest Partners Program. Contact me (Kathy.Abusow@sfiprogram.org) to learn how you can make a difference now.

 


10/16/2013 3:18:50 PM


Prolinged shutdown could hamper housing recovery
The Hill The housing market's recovery could hit a snag if Congress prolongs the federal government's shutdown. Meanwhile, in a broad ranging outlook on Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said recovery is expected to gain momentum next year even as several challenges remain. "The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and particularly in 2015," said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. http://goo.gl/0Ck73b
10/7/2013 12:09:20 PM


Upcoming U.S. - Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013

 


Exclusive 1-on-1 Meetings to be held from September 30th to October 4th for U.S. and leading South Korean companies that are interested in international trade opportunities.

Led by KITA(Korea International Trade Association)‘s Chairman Duck-soo Han, South Korea’s former Prime Minister and Ambassador to the U.S., KITA will be continuing with their international trade partnership event series—The U.S-Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013, which will start off in Seattle on September 30th, continuing in Portland on October 1st, and concluding in San Francisco on October 2nd to the 4th, 2013.

 

“The U.S-Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013 event is perhaps the most ambitious event to date and I am extremely excited about the new opportunities that will result from this event for U.S. and Korean companies alike.” stated Mr. Jungseok Choi, President of KITA New York.

 

Participating at this event are 10 of the leading Korean companies in the leather garment / textiles, frozen seafood, meats & fruits, heavy equipment parts, semiconductor, as well real estate development. KITA events in the past have allowed new import, export and investment opportunities between the U.S. and South Korean markets by providing the unique opportunity to conduct 1-on-1 meetings.

“With the recent implementation of the FTA between the U.S. and South Korea, and the depending relationship between the two countries, the timing has never been more optimal for new business and trade opportunities,” stated Choi, “We are grateful to host this event and to the participating companies from both nations.”

The event details for the three cities are as follows:

 

Seattle, Washington

  • Date/Time: Monday, Sep 30th, 2013, 9AM-8PM
  • Location: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

Portland, Oregon 

  • Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 1st, 2013, 2PM-8PM
  • Location: Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

San Francisco, California

  • Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2013, 2PM ~ Friday, Oct 4th, 2013, 5PM
  • Location: Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Buyers, importers, exporters, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, and investors are invited to register for this complimentary event, and for further details on the participating companies, and opportunities or to register to attend, visit http://tradekorea.org

9/18/2013 1:46:21 PM


MMPA Limited Millwork Event in Sacramento
The MMPA's Industry Wide "Limited' Millwork Event kicks off on Sunday, September 8, 2013, in Sacramento, CA with a golf outing followed by an informal gathering at Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar. The event will be held at the Westin Sacramento located on the Sacramento River just south of the downtown and Old Sacramento area. On Monday, September 9, the program begins with a tabletop event riverside followed by keynote speaker, Peter Butzelaar of International Wood Markets Group, delivering a state of the millwork industry presentation. This session will be backed up with a raw material supply panel discussion covering wood, MDF and poly mouldings and millwork.

Tuesday will bring the first day of plant tours. Attendees will visit Setzer Forest Products, Pacific MDF Products and Sierra Pacific Industries Lincoln site. Late Tuesday day afternoon a distribution talk will follow another tabletop session back at the Westin Sacramento. Wednesday has the attendees touring Sunset Moulding Company - Live Oak, Sunset Moulding Company - Chico, and Yuba River Moulding & Millwork. On Thursday, attendees invited to the Sierra Pacific Industries Open House will depart Sacramento to Anderson, CA.

The MMPA office will be closed September 6-13th.

9/6/2013 12:24:02 PM


U.S. home sales hit 5.4M in July, highest since 2009
By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since 2009, previously occupied U.S. homes are selling at a pace associated with a healthy market.

Sales jumped 6.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.4 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Over the past 12 months, sales have surged 17.2 percent. The trend shows that housing remains a driving force for the economy even as mortgage rates have risen from record lows.

Buyers have been purchasing previously occupied homes at an annual pace above 5 million for three straight months. The last time that happened was in 2007. Sales are far above the 3.45 million pace of July 2010, the low point after the housing bubble burst. Analysts generally think a healthy sales pace is roughly between 5 and 5.5 million. Full story: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-home-sales-hit-539m-july-highest-09


8/22/2013 2:41:27 PM


Everything you need to know about Obama's latest housing plan

The Washington Post

Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered the third in a series of big economic speeches, this one about housing. Despite a remarkable market recovery, things still need fixing: Millions are stuck in underwater mortgages, parts of the country still have vast tracts of blighted and abandoned land, and several cities have supply crunches so severe that only the wealthy can afford to live there. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still around, under conservatorship, in a state of suspended animation.

Obama’s overall plan is a mix of ideas he’s proposed before and failed to get from Congress, things Congress is working on, things he’s already doing through agencies and executive action, and a few new ideas. Here are the main pieces, which are laid out in most detail here.

Click here for full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/07/obamas-got-a-not-entirely-new-housing-plan-heres-whats-in-it/


8/7/2013 6:42:56 PM


FOMC Preview: Economic Slowdown

By Calculated Risk

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 07:19 AM PDT

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the FOMC statement expected to be released at 2:00 PM ET on Wednesday.

Expectations are the FOMC will take no action at this meeting (the FOMC will probably not adjust the size of their purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities).

Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ wrote on Thursday: Up for Debate at Fed: A Sharper Easy-Money Message

The Federal Reserve is on track to keep its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program in place at its policy meeting next week, but officials will debate changes to the way the central bank describes its plans for the program and for short-term interest rates.

At their July 30-31 meeting, Fed officials are likely to discuss whether to refine or revise "forward guidance," the words they use to describe their intentions for the next few years.

Any discussion on forward guidance will probably show up in the FOMC minutes, and not in the statement. It is possible that they could lower the unemployment rate threshold, although my guess is the guidance in the statement will remain as follows (Statement from June 19):

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored.

A key question for the meeting this week is how the FOMC will recognize the weaker incoming data.  Q2 GDP will be released Wednesday morning before the FOMC statement is released, and expectations are for a weak reading (consensus is for 1.1% annualized growth rate in Q2).  For growth, there will probably be some change to the first sentence in the June statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated.

Perhaps something like the following, maybe without the "considerably" (from the August 2011 statement):

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that economic growth so far this year has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected.

A key will be to watch the comments on inflation. At the last meeting, James Bullard dissented because he "believed that the Committee should signal more strongly its willingness to defend its inflation goal in light of recent low inflation readings".  From the June meeting:

Partly reflecting transitory influences, inflation has been running below the Committee's longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Since then, it appears inflation has fallen even more.  The recent decline in inflation is probably a growing concern for some FOMC participants.

As a reminder, here are the quarterly projections from the June meeting. If Q2 is close to consensus, GDP would have to be in the 3.3% to 3.9% range in the 2nd half to reach the FOMC projections (a sharp pickup in activity):

GDP projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents

Change in Real GDP1

2013

2014

2015

June 2013 Meeting Projections

2.3 to 2.6