Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 20, 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: Sales of western SPF 2x4 #2&Btr occurred at $218 to $219, well below the $227 posted the week prior. Prices in the East were flat with some minor adjustments, although producers were able to garner more orders than in previous weeks. Producers of Southern Pine lumber reported yet another week of slow trading, leaving some prices vulnerable to discounts. Mills continued to tweak production, trying to establish a better balance between supplies and limited consumption. Moderate production cutbacks have helped buoy dry prices in the Coastal species lumber market. Abundant weakness remained in the green Doug Fir market. Inland Hem-Fir prices are slightly weaker than those of Fir-Larch. Both have had to adjust down from mills' initial offering prices, some by as much as $20. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr lumber continues very stable at current levels. Shop lumber is the focus of buyers' attention, causing the prices of all Shop to appreciate by $5 to $10. Generally, #3 and #4 Common boards are more active than #2. The greatest price spreads are in #2. Idaho White Pine Sterling is suffering because of the pressure on Ponderosa, and some of those prices have adjusted. Eastern White Pine boards continue at much the same pace and price profiles as they have been for some weeks. Radiata Pine lumber prices are "flat," but demand is lackluster. Western Red Cedar buying consists of replenishment orders often meager in size, consisting of numerous items and needed fairly promptly. However, not all items are available for quick shipment.

PANELS: Despite cutbacks announced by a major producer, Western Fir plywood buyers exhibited no urgency to jump into the market to cover needs. Prices remained spongy, a result of sales staffs trying to both keep up with production and move buildups. Sluggish demand forced Southern Pine plywood producers to negotiate prices. The tendency was to hold mill quotes close to prior levels and listen to offers. All OSB regions across the country seem fragile and without verve at this point, and the only changes in continental pricing are to the downside. At least one key Canadian plywood producer elevated prices for buyers' consideration. While some plywood was sold, it was not apparently any volume and mostly not at that level. The C$296 for 9.5-mm CSP sheathing remains in place. Although both particleboard and MDF have clearly improved over the last couple of months, the improvements are muted. Prices are stable, given the steady but unenthusiastic business, and producers show some fairly wide spectrums of need.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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