Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for July 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: Sales activity in the SPF lumber market remained substantial, generating continued firm pricing for most volumes sold. Wholesalers and producers noted steady sales to both distributor and retail yards in the U.S. Good sales activity in the field prompted yards to purchase solid volumes of Southern Pine lumber from mills to fill in inventories. Buyers reported having to pick from broken tallies at mills. Some buyers sensed slightly slower trading in the West zone. Coastal species lumber prices continued to climb, edging closer or surpassing the previous highs for the year, many set back in early June. Green Doug Fir remained especially strong. Buyers of Inland species lumber found limited selections at the mills. Producers reported broken tallies in small quantities for shipment. Order files for regular tallies were into mid-August or later. Demand for Radiata Pine Shop was light, but offerings were virtually non-existent, so prices remained unchanged. Modest inquiry levels for Mldg&Btr were reported. Ponderosa Pine producers continued to see weakness in upper grades of Shop. Lack of interest from window and cut stock plants contributed to the overall weakness in the market. In boards, a familiar pattern was repeated for another week, as weakness in Ponderosa Pine #2&Btr Commons continued. Sales of low grades were a little more positive, with prices holding their own. Eastern White Pine producers reported a "slow but steady" pace. An uneventful week was reported for ESLP, as tight availability, coupled with modest demand, kept prices within a few dollars either way of previous selling levels. A moderate sales pace in the Western Red Cedar lumber market generated little excitement. Hot weather and vacations occupied the thoughts of suppliers and customers. Demand consisted largely of truckload volumes often made up of several items.

Panels: OSB markets came to life in a big way late in the week. Producers reported strong sales in all regions, with prices moving up quickly. Brisk sales in the Southern Pine plywood market sent prices higher, skyrocketing in some instances, and pushed order files well out into the latter half of August. Mills, especially those on the Eastside, raised prices defensively. Strong sales at the mill level in the Western Fir plywood market generated higher prices and lead times out into the latter half of August. After dipping their toes in the market the week prior, more yards in the Northeast ventured in to replenish inventories. Canadian plywood producers once again reported active inquiries and good sales volumes. MDF strength remained considerably ahead of particleboard. Some particleboard mills sold beyond a week's worth of production, while a few fell a little short. Meanwhile, MDF bookings were very strong.

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