Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Dec. 14, 2012

*Western - regional species perimeter foundation; Southern - regional species slab construction.

Crow's Market Recap -- A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow's Weekly Market Report.

Lumber: SPF lumber sales activity slowed, as buyers chose to digest previous purchases. Mill order files extending out into the first week of January also forced buyers to withdraw from the market. Buyers of Southern Pine lumber continued to purchase only when necessary, intent on keeping inventories low before the end of the year. Mills, trying to keep inventory levels in check, discounted volume purchases as much as $10 on several items. Steady sales activity in Coastal lumber and limited availability continued to place upward pressure on prices. Mills willing to sell into January were able to do so. The moderate sales pace reported for Inland species lumber was said to be limited by the length of mill order files and availability of products and not because of a lack of demand. Radiata Pine Shop remained in tight supply with firm prices, and Mldg&Btr buyers placed orders for next month shipment. Ponderosa Pine moulding and shop producers reported a slight uptick in activity compared to past weeks. Most of the increase was for Mldg&Btr, but improved sales of Shop grades were also reported. The strength of the Ponderosa Pine board market resided with lower grades. Brisk sales of #4 Common were reported for 1x4 through 1x12. Eastern White Pine producers reported a steady market. Volumes traded in a narrow range up or down from published levels. Idaho White Pine producers reported good sales. Western Red Cedar producers continued to bump a few scattered prices higher, largely due to tighter supplies and buyers’ need to find coverage.

Panels: Inclement weather and extended order files helped keep a lid on OSB sales activity. Prices in most regions were firm and unchanged. Canadian activity was quiet. Southern Pine plywood producers firmed up pricing and extended order files out into the week of Jan. 7, as demand increased. Yards in the Northeast and Midwest stepped into to purchase more volumes. A greater number of buyers entered the Western Fir plywood market to pick off volumes that will ship after the first of the year. Participation out of the Northeast and Midwest regions increased significantly. Reports in the Canadian plywood market of strong sales out of distribution circulated, as dealers filled holes in inventories and covered upcoming jobs. Mill order files into the end of January kept prices firm. Sales of MDF remained steady, still often described as “very strong.” Although some particleboard producers reported this week slower in respect to sales, most seemed satisfied with December comparisons to last year. 

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