Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Feb. 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: Despite winter weather persisting throughout much of the country, SPF distributors purchased those needs likely to deliver after snows have melted. Narrow width prices bounced by $10 to $16 off their lows. Southern Pine dimension lumber sold at discounts, ranging widely from $5 to $25, depending on the item. The deepest cuts came out of the West, where 2x12 #2 discounts of $15 to $20 appeared. Central and East zone price declines were more of the $5 to $10 variety. Coastal species lumber prices firmed as the week progressed, strengthened by a round of buying. Green Doug Fir demand out of Southern California increased. The entire spectrum of Inland lumber species came in for adjustment this week. Relative to last week's levels, all Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir #2&Btr narrows dropped $10, on average, and wides shed $20. Ponderosa Pine industrials remain tight, with the exception of low grades. Mldg&Btr showed increases, #2&Btr Shop continues to earn a slight premium, and #3 Shop is unchanged. The combined forces of inclement weather and mill production are serving to keep prices of certain Selects and Commons soft. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr "looks like it is trying to firm up a little," while Shop is very firm and stable, but very little is available. Idaho White Pine production appears in mid-cycle, with mills either having sold their runs or preparing for another. Eastern White Pine producers have geared production to demand, but even so the weather has caused a real ordering gap among eastern retailers. Weather slowed consumption, but Western Red Cedar mavens questioned whether volumes sold would be significantly more if the weather was better.

PANELS: Improved sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market allowed producers to increase prices, affording some relief in their battle with high veneer costs. Discounts for Southern Pine rated sheathing on Tuesday dried up, and by Friday mills were selling at or above published levels. What began as a short-covering rally turned into a general market push, with OSB prices moving quickly. Most of the activity has been generated by the United States, with Canada being "pulled along," as one manager noted. The situation in Canadian plywood has changed a little from last week, a little better for some producers and a little less so for others. Particleboard activity levels this week seem a bit slower than last week, but still better than the fourth quarter. The same is true of MDF, although it appears to be slightly more active this week than particleboard.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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