Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 13, 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: Both producers and wholesalers reported another "quiet" week of sales activity in the SPF lumber market. U.S. prices out of eastern mills were soft. Volumes of Southern Pine 2x6 #2, the strongest dimension in that grade, were sometimes sold at higher prices, while modest discounting, at times, took place in wide widths. Demand was dull overall and a perception that production curtailments were not yet numerous enough prevailed. Pricing of Coastal species lumber was flat to lower, as mills sought to sell green Doug Fir with significant discounts. Prices were more stable on the dry side of production. Inland species lumber demand and supply seem finally to have reached equilibrium. Prices, which have fallen $40 to $55 dollars over the past several weeks, seem to be stabilizing. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr 5/4 is holding at $1,350 with 6/4 at $1,400. Regular Shop users continue to find their supplies, with the open market getting little wood. Boards are "reasonably steady," according to one source. Yet another said that he has too little demand for his current position. Idaho White Pine producers report that both Utility and Standard are "strong," but Sterling is in short supply. Eastern White Pine producers report a market little changed from last week. Radiata Pine lumber prices are holding very firm in both 5/4 and 6/4. Wholesalers report that it remains difficult to find stock. Any increases in Western Red Cedar demand so far this spring have been mill-specific, with rarely any consensus among mills that demand is improving from week to week.

PANELS: Western Fir plywood buyers in the West purchased needs conservatively. Participation by customers in the Northeast was limited, although inquiry levels were decent. While $10 to $20 declines in Southern Pine rated sheathing were most common, prices of other items dropped as much, if not more. Wholesalers had difficulties moving contract volumes, and producers admitted to stacking even more production. OSB inventories have built at both mill level and in the field, giving producers no place to put production and distributors no more room to store stock. Canadian plywood producers have had varying needs, causing some to discount while others held firm. Today, the C$296 is still valid as a general reflection of mill-selling levels, although a wide range of prices is reported from the field. The conflict between increasing expenses and slack demand is catching up with producers of both particleboard and MDF. But with competition for every order being intense, talking price increases is a touchy matter.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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