Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 30, 2014

*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 appearance of prompt shipping SPF lumber forced producers to lower quotes and listen to offers below those new levels. A perception that ample availability exists at mills prompted buyers to hold out. Traders with little or no position considered themselves in a good situation. While most Southern Pine lumber producers reported a moderate sales pace, demand at distribution yards remained strong. Most prices gained, but 2x6 #2 prices dropped to their lows for the year across all zones. Limited demand made it more difficult for Coastal species lumber producers to sell production. Green Doug Fir prices continued to struggle while buyers in the California market worked through previously purchased inventory. The Inland species lumber market lost momentum, and producers had to adjust prices down in order to write business. Weak markets for SPF and other species put buyers on the defensive. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr sales volumes were light but sufficient to cover producers’ offerings. Shop grades remained in short supply, with prices reported at or above published levels. Ponderosa Pine Shop producers reported mill order files out to the end of June or early July. Shop buyers reported moderate needs and adequate inventories for the near future. Demand for Ponderosa Pine boards remained good. Producers report activity for wide #2 has improved. Eastern White Pine producers reported a good pace to the market. Potential buyers of ESLP often had to make multiple phone calls to find coverage. Strong sales of Western Red Cedar over the Memorial Day weekend at retail stores prompted them to replenish volumes and begin looking ahead to the Fourth of July holiday. Most producers reported very few floor stocks.

Panels: OSB markets continued to decline as more producers came back into the market with reduced prices. Wholesalers struggled to move off contracts and many times took a loss in order to do so. Traders reported some success in selling back to back orders. Sales at Southern Pine plywood mills were mixed, depending heavily on what items mills were willing to discount enough to sell to buyers looking for deals. For another week, 19/32” and 23/32” rated sheathing drew the deepest price cuts. Western Fir plywood producers entered the week with slim order files, forcing them to discount early -- some significantly deeper than others. Buyers were careful about purchasing in a market in which prices still had room to decline. Canadian plywood producers reported a quiet week of sales. Buyers filled a few holes in their inventories, but most were content to stay on the sidelines for the time being. Yards reported steady activity, with shipments going out the gate on a regular basis. Sales for most particleboard producers were not as strong as previous weeks. The shortened week received much of the blame. MDF sales were lackluster. Several producers reported selling short of their week’s production.

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