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A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for July 22, 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: SPF lumber producers sold modest volumes, which ate away at order files. However, demand for 2x6 and wider #2&Btr kept upward pressure on those prices in the West. Limited supplies coming out of the East enabled mills in that region to hold prices. Prices in the Southern Pine lumber market continued to gain traction. Reduced production schedules over the past month, combined with some added demand, have helped provide more price stability. Improved sales of dry items in the Coastal species lumber market during the latter half of the week improved the likelihood of mills holding onto quoted levels. Green Doug Fir prices faltered, especially 2x6 #2&Btr. Some Inland species lumber producers have spot surpluses and have lowered their numbers on selected items. Others, not needing to scrub surpluses, have actually elevated their prices. Thus, spreads are wider this week among most Inland mills. Ponderosa Pine lumber is more available. Both 5/4 and 6/4 Shop are less difficult to source. Nonetheless, prices are very firm, and buyers continue to seek Shop in reasonable volumes. The price of #2&Btr Common was weaker than either #3 or #4. Lack of demand has been apparent all year, and is a strong indicator of those moderate big-box sales. Idaho White Pine remains in very modest production, and those who have any are holding their prices very firm. Eastern White Pine mills remain very stable and firm on their prices. All Radiata Pine prices are very firm. Extreme heat limited consumption of Western Red Cedar. Buyers purchased sparingly, keeping inventories in line with takeaways and wanting quick shipments. Prices remained stuck in the same quagmire.
PANELS: Western Fir plywood producers reported flat pricing intermingled with the occasional buildup of floor stocks, which were subsequently discounted. Sales into the week of Aug. 1 were achieved, but quicker shipping volumes remained available. Without the full participation of customer bases in the Southern Pine plywood market, sales were moderate yet enough to keep prices from weakening. OSB markets seem to be attempting to stabilize, although overall energy is still lacking. Canadian plywood price levels remain at or very near the numbers that have been used for the last two weeks, with producer spreads still showing a fairly wide range. Particleboard and MDF price increases across much of the South gave the impression that more was taking place than actually happened. These price gains were the result of price increases that had been announced earlier.