A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 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: Strong demand allowed SPF mills to raise dimension lumber prices $5 to $10. Low inventory levels prompted buyers to replenish. Wholesalers purchased, sold those volumes and then purchased again, contributing to mill order files extending into the week of May 14. Despite reports of gradual slowing in the Southern Pine lumber market early in the week, demand remained solid enough to keep order files out two weeks and dimension prices rising by double digits. Treaters remained a key force behind price increases. Diminished production levels and solid demand kept upward pressure on dry Coastal species dimension lumber prices. Dry Doug Fir prices experienced price appreciation across all dimensions, while trading levels in green Doug Fir saw an uptick. Inland species lumber producers remained in control of the market for another week, as buyers looked for quick shipments and specified tallies. Most were unsuccessful on both counts. Limited selections at mills forced buyers to compromise on their needs or look to secondaries for coverage. Radiata Pine Shop offerings were limited, as was Mldg&Btr. Prices were firm. Market conditions for Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop were little changed. According to buyers, 5/4 #3 Shop was readily available, but 6/4 was more difficult to find. Lack of availability and moderate demand combined to keep Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons on firm ground, for the most part. Eastern White Pine producers continued to concentrate on shipment schedules. Prices remained firm. Activity for ESLP remained steady, as exports and three week order files helped producers remain in control. Western Red Cedar producers sold steady volumes, which kept several prices on an upward tilt. Order files often extended into June and even July in some instances.
Panels: Just when it looked like OSB markets were on the verge of collapse, a rally at mid week breathed new life into the market. Driven by strong sales to U.S. destinations, mills were able to extend order files out and firm or raise prices. Most Southern Pine plywood prices remained on firm footing after a week of steady demand. Producers continued to push order files out another week. Volumes sold in the Western Fir plywood market eliminated any early inclination among producers to listen to counters. Producers accepting modest counters firmed prices by late Tuesday and joined other producers in raising them $5 to $10 by the week's end. The Canadian softwood plywood market remains firm in spite of a quieter pace to sales this week than previous weeks. Order files are out to the week of May 28. Particleboard producers posted another good week of sales, while those MDF producers reporting a slower pace last week often saw buyers come back into the market to replenish.