Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 14, 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 need for SPF lumber mills to move volumes into a cautious and oversupplied market meant another week of downward pricing. The downward trend in futures continued to weigh heavily on the cash market. Sales took place at a variety of price levels. While some traders perceived the Southern Pine lumber market to be “turning slowly,” prices continued to decline. Sporadic sales activity again left the market with little traction, but mills have reduced floor stocks over the past couple of weeks. Dry pricing in the Coastal species lumber market held up better than in previous weeks, although narrow widths remained soft. Green Doug Fir producers searched for sales at considerably lower prices, especially in narrow widths. Those prices dropped incrementally throughout the week. That short-lived stability in the Inland species lumber market last week was replaced by sluggish action. The net result was prices that slipped off and a psychological sourness on both sides of the market. Radiata Pine Shop is firm and keeping its trend line upward. Demand remains more than sufficient to keep Ponderosa Pine Shop cleaned up, and most producers report that they have little to sell. Idaho White Pine board producers have little, if any, product to sell. Most are working off their last cut and have highly diluted inventories. Eastern White Pine boards have shown “a gradual seasonal firming,” according to one source, but that energy has been pretty well sapped from the market by a demand that is “not stellar but holding.” A significant number of inquiries crossed the desks of sales staffs at Western Red Cedar mills, but the volumes involved did not often inspire much enthusiasm. Distributors worked down inventories and filled holes with highly mixed truckload volumes.

Panels: Some OSB buyers stepped into the market and placed firm orders for significant volumes. However, it remains an undefined market in many regions, and prices are significantly softer than they were last week. Southern Pine plywood prices continued to decline. Mills experienced slow to moderate sales activity, as buyers purchased minimal volumes to fill in conservative inventory positions. Western Fir plywood prices drifted lower once again, and producers found it difficult to attain much of an order file. Some significant disagreement arose as to the current price level of Canadian plywood. Producers pushed firmly upward, almost all of them promoting a 3-point increase. The consensus among both particleboard and MDF producers was that sales and the volumes they consisted of remained “steady.” Overall, MDF availability remained tighter than particleboard, but only because of lackluster volumes of particleboard sold in the West.

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