Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Jan. 27, 2012

*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 lumber remained on the quiet side, in a week which one producer called "uneventful." Winter weather in many market areas added to the already slow pace of the market. Following a week in which prices of most Southern Pine lumber commodities increased briskly, this week has been termed “a transition week” by some and a period of “digestion” by others. Coastal lumber producers reported light sales volumes and a market that remained flat, with no real direction up or down. Mills quoted prices close to last week's levels. Mill order files helped producers hold prices in spite of the slow activity. If the Inland lumber market is “not particularly robust,” as one source indicated, it is still not weak from a pricing perspective. A number of producers have either few or no logs, and most have very little Ponderosa Pine to offer. In general, Ponderosa Pine boards are unavailable in any volume until late March. Prices are generally stable, however, based on the lack of strong demand at this point.

PANELS: Following a period of good price appreciation, Southern Pine plywood appears to be making some adjustments. Those adjustments, however, are largely limited to sheathing plywood, with all upper grades either holding fast to current levels or, in a few cases, trying to firm even further. Most producers reflected the consensus that Western Fir plywood experienced a good week, with prices fluctuating modestly in the sheathing items and holding well in the upper grades. The momentum has subsided for OSB markets. Producers reported a quiet week, as buyers remained on the sidelines. Order files for Canadian plywood western market allowed producers to hold the line on prices, although some discounted orders were reported. Eastern markets appear to be a little more vulnerable than the West.

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