Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for July 18, 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: SPF producers and secondaries reported a slower market pace, leaving mill prices flat to a few dollars higher. Price strength was largely due to mill order files and mill shutdowns already taking place or scheduled for the weeks of July 21 and 28. Downward moves in the September futures contract caught the eyes of buyers, and Thursday’s dismal housing report “shocked” a number of traders. Greater strength in Southern Pine narrow widths than the wides remained one constant in the market. One reason for rising prices in 2x4 and 2x6 is strong demand coming from the truss manufacturing sector. Any price movement in dry Coastal species dimension lumber was minimal, with adjustments consisting of only a few dollars. Green Doug Fir pricing increased the most. Much of the Inland market was absent this week, attending the Inland lumber meeting. Anticipating this, many buyers placed orders early. The result has been few price changes since the middle of the week. New Zealand Radiata Pine is tight and balanced. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr has begun to hint at potential softness. Lack of consistent demand for solid lineal mouldings is the primary cause of this, leading to developing surpluses. A few soft spots remain in boards, most notably in Ponderosa Pine 1x12 #2 Common. Eastern White Pine producers report some difficulty getting distributors to believe that the market has really changed over the last several months. Mills have good files, so they really do not need more demand pressure. ESLP boards and Inland Cedar are also quite stable and holding price levels. Although some Western Red Cedar producers continued to report a slightly slower pace to sales than in June, they still carried order files well into August.

Panels: From last week, OSB markets skidded sideways, mostly, showing mild activity and almost no price movement. The exceptions were on the eastside of Canada and the U.S., where $2 to $5 came off. The loss of production in the plywood market, due to a fire that destroyed a Springfield, Oregon, plywood mill Thursday, sent buyers scurrying for Southern Pine volumes Friday morning. Following word of the mill fire, Western Fir plywood producers exited the market en masse and spent much of Friday morning, in the words of one producer, “making sure we do things right,” when they came back on the market. Before their exodus, producers sold CDX items at $5 to $10 premiums. Early Friday morning, Canadian plywood prices were already a solid six points higher than a week ago, but news of the fire prompted business written into September at 8 to 10 points over last week. Particleboard sales overall continued to proceed at a slightly slower pace than in June. Some mills reported slightly slower sales, while others sold near or at their weekly production volumes. MDF sales remained more subdued than particleboard. Mills stacked volumes when unable to sell the week’s production.

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