Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 31, 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: Overall, the SPF lumber market grew weaker, but it did not necessarily reflect in mill prices. Sales activity at the mill level was modest, eroding order files still standing in the weeks of Sept. 10 and 17. Narrow width prices in the Southern Pine lumber market increased while wide widths remained weak. Mills in the path of Hurricane Isaac ran low on logs and often shut down for a day or two until the storm eased. Producers expressed concerns about the inability to log over the next week or so. Trading remained sluggish in the Coastal species lumber market, creating some cracks in prices. Producers maintained prior quoted levels and listened to counters or lowered prices $5 to $10. The tone of the Inland species lumber market was much quieter. Producers had light amounts of stock on the ground and order files of a couple of weeks, so they were content to hold prices. A slower pace to sales of ESLP boards was matched with a reduction in availability, keeping prices unchanged. Order files out to late September were reported. A pre-holiday quiet settled over Eastern White Pine markets. Enough sales were made to keep prices firm and order files out a few weeks. A mild firming in the market for Ponderosa Pine #2&Btr Common was reported. Sales of #3 and #4 remained slow but steady. Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop buyers remained at arm's length from producers, buying only what they needed. Prices for Mldg&Btr came off dramatically after a couple of volume sales with heavy discounts occurred. Limited supplies and order files into October kept Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr on firm ground. Shop is virtually non-existent. A number of producers of Western Red Cedar noted a slightly better sales week but were unable to pinpoint a reason for the increased activity. Prices were primarily flat.

Panels: OSB prices in all regions are either, “very stable or slightly firmer” at established levels. Mill order files into the last week of September or the first week of October have buyers seeking secondary wood. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market quieted further, but prices remained firm and even adjusted higher in a few instances. Buyers digesting previous purchases, cautious wholesalers and torrential rains from Hurricane Isaac all contributed to slower demand. Western Fir plywood sales slowed to a crawl prior to the long holiday weekend. Some spotty spurts of activity were reported, but order files remained largely in 9/10 and 9/17. Canadian plywood is very firm and stable in price. Producers are seeing light demand, because buyers want quicker wood. Particleboard sales were again somewhat of a struggle for some producers, particularly in the West. MDF sales remained strong. Production was absorbed with no hesitation on the part of buyers.

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