Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 10, 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: Trading in SPF lumber markets was solid, generating higher prices. Sales activity at western mills picked up at midweek, while producers in the East experienced stronger activity from Canadian customers. Reports of slower sales from Southern Pine lumber producers were more prevalent, yet enough volumes sold to allow mills to boost narrow width prices $5-10. Participation out of the treated lumber segment lagged. Coastal species lumber prices made strong upward moves in response to another week of solid demand. Buyers searched for prompt shipping volumes, but availability of those items was limited. Inland species lumber buyers spent the majority of their buying time in search mode, trying to find coverage for immediate needs. What mill offerings were available were often broken tallies or better tallies with ship times a couple of weeks out. Eastern White Pine producers reported a good volume of sales, which helped move their order files out to the week of August 27. Idaho White Pine producers reported steady activity and firm prices. The markets for Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons were unchanged, with activity for #2&Btr weak and prices declining, while #3 and #4 held their own with firm pricing Producers reported order files of at least two weeks. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr producers reported a steady sales pace, close to the volumes seen in previous weeks. Sales of upper grades of Shop lumber remained weak, and prices were soft. Availability of Radiata Pine Shop was non-existent, and very little Mldg&Btr was sold in open market transactions. Persistent hot weather throughout parts of the U.S. kept hopes alive for an uptick in Western Red Cedar sales once the heat dissipates in the fall. A few producers have heard from their customers in the Midwest that some pent up demand exists in that region, where heat has been particularly harsh.

Panels: OSB sales started out on a somewhat quieter tone, but picked up significantly as the week progressed. Buyer searched to find mills willing to quote in some regions. Mill order files out to September forced mills off the market in order to keep files from extending too far. Fewer buyers participated in the Southern Pine plywood market, in part due to mills' extended order files into the first and second weeks of September. Nearly all Western Fir plywood mills' order files were in September, helping to drive prices higher, despite what producers described as "a slower sales pace." Canadian plywood producers reported good sales activity early in the week, but the pace quieted some by week's end. Particleboard producers struggled more to move a week's worth of production, often unable to reach that level of sales. MDF sales and general market dynamics remained strong. Buyers continued to find mill supplies limited.

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