So headline economic data has been good lately. Yet the markets are leaning towards a bearish view on the economy and a dovish view on the Fed. With such confusion, it is hard to figure out what might happen. Therefore, we are going to focus on some alternative economic indicators and today we found an interesting one: lumber prices are slumping badly at the time of year they are supposed to be rising. Lumber prices usually rise in the spring as builders stock up for construction. However, poor weather and a lack of construction is badly hurting prices. In May 2018 prices were at $639 per thousand board feet, now they are just $334, or down about 50%! Mills are cutting back production as a response.
FINSUM: That is a pretty alarming price drop and another sign that the underlying health of the real estate market is not good.