Move Over Gold. Wood Is the Shelter of Choice in the Pandemic

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(Bloomberg) — As economies struggle to recover in the pandemic and U.S.-China tensions flare, investors piling into precious metals may be overlooking another potential haven: wood.

Lumber futures have doubled since early April and are the top-performing major raw material this year. Surprisingly, wood is even outshining gold and silver, traditionally the go-to haven commodities.

While lockdowns and stay-in-place restrictions were expected to curb demand for building materials, North Americans stuck inside decided to spend money and renovate their homes just as aggressive production cuts tightened supplies.

To be sure, lumber trades at much lower volume than gold and other metals and is prone to wild price swings. But producers such as Canfor Corp. expect strong demand and prices will continue into early fall.

“The home-center demand has been so strong compared to what anybody would’ve expected,” Canfor Chief Executive Officer Don Kayne said Friday on the company’s quarterly earnings call.

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