Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Oct. 21, 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: Trading in the SPF lumber market was stagnant, but prices in many instances maintained previous levels. A significant gap between the November futures contract and cash market price added some uncertainty to the market. Southern Pine lumber producers looked to sell production with more urgency, but buyers were unwilling to purchase large volumes. Instead, buyers filled in holes with the deals presented to them. As a result of sluggish demand, Coastal species lumber prices were susceptible to negotiation, leading to several downward price moves. Green Doug Fir pricing, particularly in narrow widths, was weak. Inland lumber producers reported an “on and off” market. Activity early in the week was better than later. Hem-Fir producers that needed to move wood were open to counters, but only if it fit them. The market for Ponderosa Pine boards had a quiet feel to it, probably due to the fact that many of the players were away from their desks. The sellers in their offices reported mostly firm prices, although the volume was light. Eastern White Pine board producers reported Industrial moved well, and Standard and Premium experienced steady sales. Select were on the soft side and the price of wides came off. In Mld&Btr and Shop grades, activity was sluggish in Ponderosa and Radiata Pine, but prices were unchanged. The mass exodus of Western Red Cedar traders heading to Las Vegas and the NAWLA Traders Market began Wednesday. This meant a light week for transactions, particularly from Wednesday through Friday.

Panels: A quiet and uneventful week was reported for OSB markets in most regions. A few discounts early in the week were reported in the Southwest but were no longer available at week’s end. A similar story was told for far West markets. Demand for Southern Pine plywood absorbed about one-half the weekly production at some mills, indicating a slow market. Order files by week's end were into the week of Oct. 31, with volumes of rated sheathing available for quicker shipment. Prices in the Western Fir plywood market peeled back as a result of limited demand and a need among producers to keep up with production. Mills often dropped quotes early and negotiated off those levels for the remainder of the week. Although the Canadian plywood market has been in a quiet but steady pattern, order files have enabled some producers to maintain price levels, and in some instances, move prices up. Changes in overall demand for particleboard and MDF in specific regions were mixed, with mills generally selling about the same volumes as they had earlier in October.

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