Boise Cascade sees 'slower demand growth' in 2019
Management said, "We expect to experience slower demand growth for the products we manufacture and distribute in 2019. The April 2019 Blue Chip consensus forecast for 2019 reflects 1.25 million total U.S. housing starts, which is flat with 2018 levels. Although we believe U.S. demographics are supportive of higher levels of housing starts, we expect near-term residential construction growth to be flat or only modestly improving due to constraints faced by builders, such as availability of labor and building lots, as well as affordability constraints faced by prospective buyers. The pace of household formation rates and residential repair-and-remodeling activity will be affected by employment growth, wage growth, prospective home buyers' access to and cost of financing, housing affordability, and consumer confidence, as well as other factors. Household formation rates in turn will be a key factor behind the demand for new construction. In addition, the size of new single-family residences as well as the mix of single and multi-family starts will influence product consumption. Extreme winter weather in many parts of the U.S., coupled with seasonally weak demand and additional industry capacity brought on in 2018, led to weak commodity products pricing in first quarter 2019. Commodity product pricing during the remainder of 2019 will be dependent on industry operating rates, net import and export activity, transportation constraints or disruptions, inventory levels in various distribution channels, and seasonal demand patterns. Composite panel and lumber pricing indices are approximately 35% below average levels experienced in the second quarter of 2018, and even if we experience meaningful price increases from current levels, we expect our year-over-year financial comparisons to again be negative in the second quarter of 2019. We expect our capital spending, excluding acquisitions, to be $85-$95 million in 2019, including spending to improve the efficiency of our veneer production at our Chester, South Carolina, and Florien, Louisiana, facilities."