Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Jan. 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: SPF mills in the West continued to quote above the $300 for 2x4 #2&Btr in the West. Wider widths dropped anywhere from $2 to $5. Mills in the East called on customers in an effort to move production and lowered prices $5 to $8 to achieve a sliver of success. Slower Southern Pine lumber sales forced West zone producers to adjust prices lower to meet buyers' expectations. Discounting in the East and Central zones was rare. Helping stabilize Coastal species lumber prices was a mild run on buying in the middle of the week. Green Doug Fir prices were weighed down early by limited buying activity, dropping by close to $10 in some instances. Prices of inland Hem-Fir 2x4 through 2x8 #2&Btr continue to gravitate to the $325 mark. The wide widths are less subject to change. Fir-Larch prices were also essentially unchanged. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr is variously reported at $1,225 to $1,245 for 5/4 stock, and 6/4 ranges from $1,245 to $1,270. Last week, #2&Btr moved up sharply, but it is holding those numbers now. Selects remain unchanged and generally quiet. In the Common group, #2 is termed better than #3. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop prices are unchanged, but the lack of available Shop is notable. Idaho White Pine boards are very thinly available, but those who have them are holding their prices at recent levels. Eastern White Pine producers have faced a winter of true discontent, the market being snowbound and both residential and DIY demand bottled up. Several U.S. regions in which Western Red Cedar is used were hamstrung by winter weather. Some significant orders were taken by a few mills at prices below market levels, but buying overall was limited.

PANELS: Weather in the Northeast diminished Western Fir plywood sales, while buyers in the West purchased very little. Erosion of order files forced producers to aggressively seek sales, at times $20 below previous levels. Most Southern Pine plywood prices at mills were flat, although some higher quotes were achieved early on thicker rated sheathing panels. Buyers with immediate needs turned to wholesalers for coverage. In most regions of the continent, OSB prices are simply on hold, held captive by inclement weather and purchasing indifference. As a result of the slowness of buying at the mill level, and the fact that snow covered most of the consuming area, Canadian plywood mills have held their prices unchanged. Overall demand for both particleboard and MDF "is fairly weak everywhere," according to sources. 

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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