A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 4, 2011
*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: A greater presence by China within the SPF market at midweek influenced a few prices by firming them and prompting quote hikes by Thursday. In response to more limited demand, the rate of price increases for Southern Pine dimension lumber subsided. Retailers purchased moderate volumes, while treaters purchased less often. Dry Doug Fir and coastal Hem-Fir pricing was mostly flat, with some upward moves showing up in 2x4 through 2x8 #2&Btr. Struggles to move off what little green Doug Fir volumes were available forced lower prices early, but buyers showed more interest by Thursday. Improving weather is combining with good offshore activity to keep Inland species lumber prices firm and operating on a gradually upward trend line. Prices do continue to operate in narrow spectrums, with demand insufficient to drive numbers firmly higher. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr has pushed upward and Shop remains tight in all #2&Btr items, adding another $5 to its previous level. Improved weather in the East, combined with limited production levels in all producing areas, has kept most 4/4 boards either stable or moving up. Sugar Pine is extremely scarce, and a spread has developed between it and Ponderosa. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr has begun to show a surging upward movement, both 5/4 and 6/4 pushing up sharply. Eastern White Pine is beginning to show the increased inquiries that accompany improved weather. No hint of additional demand for Western Red Cedar in the field telegraphed back to mills. Yards often awaited more sales to downstream customers before returning to the market to fill needs.
PANELS: Western Fir plywood producers continued to look for buyers by dangling discounted prices. Greater CDX volumes were sold in the latter half of the week, firming those prices. A dormant beginning budded on Wednesday and bloomed Thursday after Southern Pine plywood producers lowered rated sheathing prices both to see if there was any interest and in response to scant order files. The situation in OSB is best described as being "spot markets" across the continent. All markets show some weakness, but some "spots" reveal real producer needs and strong discounting. Canadian plywood mills continue to stand pat on the baseline mark of C$304 for 9.5 mm CSP delivered into Toronto, but discounts off that mark have been easily found, as well as some sales above that level. Particleboard and MDF price changes have been non-existent in both the South and West, as both producers and their customers adjust to the major changes that have recently taken place.
Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report
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