November 3, 2008 / 11:29 PM / 10 years ago

Canada lumber producers eye holiday shutdowns

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov 3 (Reuters) -Canfor Corp (CFP.TO) will use the Christmas season to lower lumber production amid weak markets, but it was unclear how many other major Canadian producers would follow suit.

Canfor and other producers often trim production during the December holidays, and Chief Executive Jim Shepard said last week that Canada’s second largest softwood company plans to shut all its mills for two weeks at Christmas.

The company is producing at about 65 percent of capacity because of weak demand caused by the collapse of the U.S. housing construction market, which has seen nearly everyone in the industry idle sawmills over the past year.

Canfor’s plan was cited by traders as among the reasons that lumber futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange closed higher on Monday.

West Fraser Timber Co (WFT.TO), the largest softwood producer, is still working on its production plans for the holidays, with an official saying it had to weigh issues such as meeting chip demand from pulp customers.

Tembec TMB.TO has also not finalized its plans, a spokesman said.

AbitibiBowater Inc ABH.N declined comment in advance of its third-quarter earnings report on Thursday. An official said more information on production plans for the season could be released then.

Representatives of Tolko and International Forest Products IFPa.TO could not be reached for comment. (Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)

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