Chicago lumber futures bottomed below the $500 per thousand board feet mark, down almost 70% since its March peak, as higher interest rates continued to depress real estate activity. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening cycle has pushed 30-year mortgage rates to levels not seen since 2001, leading to slower home construction and souring sentiment among homebuilders. Adding to concerns that the housing market is facing a deep recession, sales of newly constructed homes in the US dropped 10.9% in September from August and were down 17.6% from a year ago. Still, record-low inventories and diminished production has buoyed lumber prices. The war in Ukraine and the tightening sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, which account for more than 10% of the global export of lumber, have squeezed global supplies. At the same time, a string of sawmill curtailments, with Interfor, Canfor, and West Fraser Timber announcing cutbacks, added to concerns about tight supplies.