Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for July 29, 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 mills in both eastern and western Canada possessed enough order file to maintain price levels. Wholesaler-owned volumes of 2x4 were often discounted. Wider widths were not as susceptible to the same pressure. All Southern Pine dimension lumber prices continued to climb, influenced by constricted supplies, shifts in production to alternative items, production cutbacks, slight increases in demand and thin yard inventories. Enough volumes were sold in the Coastal species lumber market to buoy prices in most instances. The few exceptions were in green Doug Fir, where continued pressure on narrow widths drove prices lower. General prices offered for Inland species lumber have remained virtually unchanged, as mills count on the stability of the market and loyal customer bases to mute countering attempts by buyers. Narrow widths have been the primary targets of countering. Whether it is Ponderosa Pine #3 Shop, P99 or Cutting Commons, it sells relatively easily and often can be sold at a slight premium over its previous levels. All #2&Btr Shop are very firmly priced. Likewise, Mldg&Btr is stable and moving at unchanged prices. The price of #3 Common is still a shade better than #2, which has been under pressure from soft retail demand for this entire spring and summer. Idaho White Pine producers show some fairly wide spreads in the Sterling material, but Standard is consistent among producers. Eastern White Pine producers continue to report conditions basically unchanged. Radiata Pine Shop is of concern, because producers do not and have not wanted to ship it to the United States under current conditions. Western Red Cedar producers reported little change in both volumes sold and prices.

PANELS: Western Fir plywood sales activity surged, with CDX prices increasing $10- to $15 in several instances. Regionally, participation from yards was widespread. Enough demand for Southern Pine plywood emerged to push mill order files out and firm prices. Wholesalers purchased more heavily, helping to move mill prices. Taking their cue from a slight increase in demand, OSB producers reacted quickly to elevate their numbers in most regions. Most of the gains can be expressed by values of $5 or slightly less. Canadian plywood sales at mill level took place at slightly elevated numbers. The elevated numbers are C$302 to C$305 for 9.5 mm CSP sheathing delivered to Toronto. On that basis, a 1% move upward is justified for Spruce plywood. All the particleboard and MDF pricing vectors in the marketplace aligned in recent weeks, with the result that a solid surge in price increases has taken place.

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