Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 10, 2017.

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

Demand for SPF remained solid, exacerbated by limited volumes available for timely shipment. Western mills often reported order files well into next month. Producers wanting more control over order files offered limited volumes. Quotes raised aggressively to cover final duty amounts essentially removed those volumes from the market.     

  • Southern Pine lumber sales activity remained solid, affording mills an opportunity to clear excesses and build order files. Upward price volatility was limited. Buying was measured, as yards considered seasonal market influences.
  • Coastal species producers were forced to lower #2&Btr Doug Fir prices in both green and dry. Meanwhile, good demand on the back of strong SPF pricing kept upward pressure on Hem-Fir prices. Inland lumber offices have been skeletonized by the NAWLA Meeting in Chicago this week, but few expect any softening of either demand or prices in the quieter end of the week. Neither Fir-Larch nor Hem-Fir prices wavered much from recent published levels.
  • Stud pricing across North America was narrowly mixed, with little upward or downward pressure applied from the demand or supply side.
  • Radiata Pine lumber from New Zealand has been significantly more abundant this year, but less so from Chile. Prices have been very stable all year.
  • Ponderosa Pine industrials are still difficult for some buyers to access in the volumes they seek. Some producers have not had consistent volumes for the cash market this summer, which has heightened the sense of tight availability. Ponderosa Pine 4/4 Selects and Commons show very little change in price levels, although availability is “Still pretty tight,’ according to one source.
  • The annual exodus to the NAWLA Traders Market took place this week, taking many Western Red Cedar traders away from their desks. With many buyers covering their needs prior to the week, sales activity ticked down a notch at sales offices.

Panels

OSB pricing took another week of big tumbles as the market continues to come off from lofty levels. A few sources said they feel stabilization may be a week or two away, while others find the current trend unpredictable. Prices in some regions range broadly.        

  • Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market picked up after a slow start, prompting producers to report a modestly improved week of sales overall. Buyers purchased for shipment in the week of November 20, although quicker shipping volumes did remain available.
  • Price weakness persisted in the Western Fir plywood market. Mills lowered CDX quotes and negotiated off those levels to stay ahead of production. Order files extended into the week of November 20, but quicker shipping wood was available.
  • Canadian plywood markets continued their firming trend this week after a recent sharp drop in pricing. Activity is serene but steady, and producers pushed order files out again, with most into the weeks of Nov. 27 through Dec. 4. One producer is out to Dec. 11.
  • Little change appeared in either Particleboard or MDF markets. Activity for both products remained lackluster at the mill level. Typical seasonal slowing was blamed for the modest pace.

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