Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Dec. 8, 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

SPF sales activity remained lackluster, leading to lower prices and quotes. Producers in eastern Canada approached the market more aggressively than mills in the West, but some smaller western producers were not exempt from listening to deep counters. The announcement Thursday that the US International Trade Commission had voted unanimously in favor of the Department of Commerce’s final duty determination elicited muted responses from traders.        

  • Any strength in several key Southern Pine items ebbed while mills tried to balance production with demand levels they expect for the remainder of the year. Demand at distribution and retail yards remained good, forcing buyers to replenish, but those replenishment volumes were kept in check.
  • Trends in Coastal species lumber continued, with green Doug pricing steady to higher and dry pricing susceptible to more discounting. Dry production continued to outpace demand despite log issues.
  • In Inland lumber, prices of both Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir fluttered down a bit, spurred on by aggressive Canadian sellers intent on moving cash wood before duties go into effect.
  • Weak stud prices outnumbered those items able to make gains, consequently, nearly all reported prices were flat to lower. Seasonal demand continued to trail production, although some regional anomalies did exist.
  • Radiata Pine industrial lumber was reported available but with no price changes. The focus of the industrial\
  • Ponderosa Pine market is on Shop. All grades are in demand, and all grades showed price gains. In boards, Ponderosa Pine availability was reported down slightly; demand was up. The result was a sharp jump in the prices of both C&Btr and D Selects; most Commons were stable, with the exception of 1x6, which was generally weaker.
  • Interest among buyers to purchase Western Red Cedar for January deliveries increased. More of them seemed less resistant to prices and more concerned with supplies for the coming year. Still, buyers are cautious in response to high prices currently in the market.

Panels

Activity picked up in OSB markets, with scattered volume purchases reported amid an overall improved tone. The impending holidays served to temper purchasing, while producers made deals to push order files out past the end of the year.           

  • After sales activity improved the week prior, the Southern Pine plywood market picked up momentum, halting rated sheathing price declines that took place over the prior several weeks. For the most part, mill order files extended into the weeks of Dec. 18 and 25.
  • Although certainly not robust, the Western Fir plywood market continued to show improvement after a slight increase in activity the prior week. Mills managed to fill out order files up to and around scheduled shutdowns around the holidays, selling some volumes for shipment during the first week of January.
  • Canadian plywood markets have a steady feel, though are slowing pre-holiday. Producers have order files into the weeks of January 1-8, with limited volumes available Dec. 18-25.
  • Particleboard and MDF sales activity lacked vigor as the market would down for the year. Supplies outweighed year-end demand levels, allowing yards to receive volumes in a relatively short period of time.

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