Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 5, 2013

*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: The SPF lumber market weakened to a point where discounting became more prevalent. Mills in the East openly discounted while those in the West tended to hold closer to quoted levels established in weeks prior. Southern Pine lumber producers discounted where buildups occurred and held prices on those items produced less. Buyers found scattered deals, primarily consisting of straight lengths at mills. Most #2 prices ended flat to up $5 to $10. A moderate increase in sales at the week's end failed to give Coastal species #2&Btr prices any lift. Buyers perceived the potential for market weakness and held off purchasing when possible, especially on the dry side of the market. The Inland species lumber market started the week on a somewhat subdued but still firm tone. This activity carried through until a rally in the futures market on Thursday breathed a little more life into the market. Radiata Pine prices for stock from New Zealand took a dramatic increase. Sales of Ponderosa Pine in the lower grades continued. Both #3 Shop and P99 sold readily, even when quoted for shipment several weeks out. Ponderosa Pine board producers reported a steady but uninspired market. Buyers paid published levels, or slightly higher, although the number of sales was lighter. ESLP #3 remained sought after and prices moved up. Eastern White Pine producers reported strong sales for Industrial in any width and 1x12 in both Standard and Premium. Western Red Cedar producers continued to try to push prices higher, citing higher log costs as the reason. Others stood fast at their price levels, not wanting to elevate prices when demand did not warrant increases.

Panels: The two-tiered OSB market continued this week. Producers held close to their asking levels while secondaries sold contract loads below replacement levels. The volume of mill sales was light but enough to keep mill asking prices on firm ground. Strong sales led to significant price increases in the Southern Pine plywood market. Mills went off the market or raised prices aggressively in an effort to control buying after garnering order files ranging from the week of April 29 out into May 6. A stalled Western Fir plywood market, in comparison to its Southern Pine counterpart, finally sprang to life, allowing mills to increase sheathing prices more than at any time since early February. The market for Canadian plywood was uneventful. Producers reported light sales activity. Mill order files out to the week of 4/22 helped keep prices. A few particleboard producers in the Southeast announced a second price increase for particleboard for May 1. MDF maintained a strong pace.

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