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A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 11, 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: In response to sluggish demand, SPF mills lowered quotes and negotiated from those levels when necessary. November futures remained at a discount to cash, prompting some moderate levels of ex-pitting prior to next week's expiration. Southern Pine lumber producers experienced enough demand to reverse the downturn in dimension lumber pricing prevalent over the previous five weeks. Most pricing in the Coastal lumber market was flat to downward, as producers sought lower levels at which to sell production. Slightly improved sales at midweek provided firmer quotes by Thursday, but not all mills experienced the same degree of demand. Inland species lumber producers reported another week of lackluster demand for dimension lumber. “It’s a fight to sell unless they need it,” observed one producer. Activity for Fir-Larch was slightly better than Hem-Fir, but not enough to keep prices from declining. In spite of minimal inventory at mills, Ponderosa Pine boards began to show weakness, and prices came off on some items. Idaho White Pine Sterling was still a difficult item to move. Activity for Standard and Industrial in Eastern White Pine was slow. In Moulding and Shop, producers of Ponderosa Pine were of the opinion that dropping prices would not bring in any more business. Radiata Pine Shop prices were unchanged and product availability was very light. A gradual decline in seasonal sales continued in the Western Red Cedar market, but producers were relatively satisfied with the volumes continuing to move from mills. In a few pockets around the United States, retailers are still experiencing good takeaways.
Panels: Overall, the OSB market remained quiet and flat. Traders concentrated on moving contract wood, and participation in cash sales was light. Activity in the Mid-Atlantic was better than other regions. After discounting Southern Pine rated sheathing early to sell volumes available for shipment in the week of Nov. 14, producers sold significant volumes beginning Wednesday to distributors. By Tuesday, good sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market swept mill order files through the week of Nov. 14, with several mills finishing the week in 11/28 and selling at higher prices. Buyers of Canadian plywood were cautious with their PO books. Producer order files of one to two weeks or less shifted control of the market into the hands of the buyers. Producers and distributors of particleboard and MDF reported a slow to moderate week of sales, typical for this time of the year. Buyers continued to watch purchases closely before the end of the year.