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A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Jan. 28, 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: On the North American front, SPF lumber sales were slow. Producers in the East struggled to keep prices at prior levels. In the West, producers felt little pressure to discount #2&Btr, but quotes were lowered in line with market levels. Sales activity in the Southern Pine lumber market was sluggish. Dimension price increases in the Central and East zones eased and discounts were more apparent, while prices on the Westside deteriorated $10 to $20. Demand for Coastal species lumber trickled into mills for much of the week, with a slight uptick reported at midweek. Any increase in buyer participation was not enough to keep several prices from dropping $10 to $15.Inclement weather now hampers retail takeaway, creating a market demand that is "kinda quiet," according to one Inland species lumber manager. The drag on demand has not created much mill-level reaction, however, and prices hold within recently reported ranges. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr continues to hold. Tightest of the Ponderosa items is #2&Btr Shop. Prices have not changed on #3 or P99. Reports indicate that 4/4 Shop is tight. Activity for #3 Common is picking up, with both domestic and offshore destinations voicing interest. However, #2 Common is clearly more active than #3, and all established price ranges continue unchanged. Idaho White Pine reports show little change in the overall demand for the product and no change in price levels. Prices of Eastern White Pine boards are stable, and good tallies can bring a little premium. Most Radiata Pine producers in both New Zealand and Chile have increased their participation in markets other than the United States. Western Red Cedar mills were willing to negotiate price when it fit, but the weather's hold on buying had more to do with market activity than price.
PANELS: Weakness in the Western Fir plywood market remained in place, increasing pressure on producers to make key decisions revolving around plywood pricing and production costs. Southern Pine plywood producers waited out another week without lowering prices for the most part, despite light sales activity. The OSB price picture is a little confused, but most areas reflect at least a $10-drop from last week's numbers. Although Canadian plywood mill files are still past the end of January, and although most mills remain unchanged in their approach to prices, the market is clearly softer and more competitive. Particleboard and MDF prices in the South have generally taken on a feeling of consensus among producers, with "about five dollars," being added to most items.
Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report