Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 24, 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 was light in the SPF lumber market, but mill order files extending into early September kept most prices firm. A succession of downward moves in futures added an element of caution to the market among buyers. Wholesalers sold volumes below mill prices. Southern Pine sales activity remained steady, prompting a number of producers to report selling a week's worth of production. Demand was strongest in the West zone, where it often outpaced production. Prices remained mixed overall. The Coastal species lumber market took what most traders described as "a pause." Buyers took delivery on prior purchases and shied away from adding to those volumes. Wholesalers sold a few dollars below replacement costs while turning away deeper counters. The Inland species lumber market remained on firm ground, in spite of slower sales volumes. The slowdown was more a product of limited prompt offerings rather than a drop in demand. Eastern White Pine board producers reported steady sales of "highly mixed" loads. Order files out 2 weeks or more kept prices firm. Ponderosa Pine board producers reported fair sales of #3 and #4 and difficulty selling all the #2&Btr produced. Ponderosa Pine Shop producers reported another quiet week, as buyers stayed on the sidelines for the most part, participating only when they had to. Sales of Radiata Pine #2 Shop were very light, matching limited supplies of that item. Sales of #3 were virtually non-existent. Mldg&Btr sales remained steady and matched supply. The general dynamics in the Western Red Cedar market remained the same. Sales were sluggish, which has been the case for much of August. Traders hoped for an improved fall.

Panels: The emphasis of the OSB market shifted from producers to distributors and office wholesalers, as mill order files moved into the first week of October in some cases. Price runs were not as dramatic as last week but were still robust. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market remained solid. Fewer sales at some mills were due in part to defensive posturing by producers. Order files touched into the week of 9/17. Trading in the Western Fir plywood market was lackluster; however, prices remained on very firm footing. Buyers took a pause from purchasing to focus on selling from inventories. Field inventories were still lean, so mill order files into mid September were considered quite comfortable. The lion's share of business being written for Canadian plywood is at the distribution level. Mill order files, out 4 to 6 weeks, have buyers turning to distributors for quicker shipments. Particleboard and MDF sales activity was steady. The MDF market remained very strong, while particleboard sales were lackluster. 

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