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Market Brief

Domestic hardwood demand improved at the end of Feb, with distribution yards and cabinet manufacturers reporting strong sales. Increased demand coincided with several positive economic indicators, including consumer confidence reaching a 15-year high in Feb. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates this week, largely due to the better-than-expected first jobs report under President Trump. Construction and manufacturing jobs were among the biggest gainers in Feb, while wages rose at their fastest pace since the Great Recession. U.S. existing home sales started strong in 2017, and single-family starts in Jan were the best in a decade. Permits also point to strong spring and summer construction. Exports in Jan proved the Dec slowdown was temporary, as shipments were up 18% year-over-year.