Anyone who’s bought plywood or two-by-fours lately knows it’s not just gasoline prices that have taken a jump since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Don Rowe, vice president of Millard Lumber, says the costs of some building materials rose last week in Iowa, as the massive storm hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The price spikes were driven by panic, Rowe says, as people thought there would be supply issues. He says lumber prices haven’t relaxed yet, and likely won’t for a while. According to quotes from the mills, Rowe says lumber prices will go up again in about two weeks but he says “long term, I don’t see it really having a major effect.” He says the price hikes in lumber, in addition to being sparked by panic buying, were also due to rising transportation costs. As far as supply and demand, Rowe says there’s “plenty of supply in the chain.” He says the real trouble is freight costs as fuel costs are “getting out of control.” Rowe says he sees no lumber shortages, even when rebuilding begins on the Gulf Coast. Millard has stores in Urbandale, Iowa and in Omaha and Waverly, Nebraska.
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