Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Oct. 5, 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 activity in the SPF market, along with most prices, was flat. Late sales the week prior helped mills firm up prices and keep discounts at levels closer to quotes. Wholesalers reported decent activity. Buyers remained cautious in a Southern Pine market that remained weak overall. Treaters countered mills deeply but purchased sparingly. Wholesalers back-to-backed orders and took moderate positions on items they believed were near a price bottom. The number of sales and their volumes in the Coastal species lumber market were largely dependent on how bad a particular mill needed an order. At the same time, mills turned away deep counters. The Inland species lumber market started the week on a soft and declining note, but by week's end, mill inventories were manageable and prices had firmed or even improved slightly. The bulk of market activity was for narrows. The market for Radiata Pine Shop was virtually non-existent, as producers sent lumber to destinations outside the U.S. or ran it to millwork in their own facilities. Adequate Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop inventories at mills allowed buyers to make their purchases on an as needed basis. Prices were firm. The overall market for Ponderosa Pine Commons remained lackluster, as buyers only made purchases on items they had to have. Eastern White Pine producers reported a "steady but unspectacular" market, with order files out one to two weeks. Western Red Cedar suppliers have turned much of their attention toward next year, trying to get deals done that will absorb sizable chunks of production during the front half of 2013.

Panels: A wide range of reported prices circulated, as some OSB producers got more aggressive with their pricing. Mills offering steep discounts to their customers were able to put some volume business together. Sales did not keep up with production in the Southern Pine plywood market, continuing to place downward pressure on most prices. Instances of deep discounting kept customers on the sidelines. Lingering volumes owned by wholesalers also placed pressure on prices. Not much demand and a lot of plywood to sell presented a predicament for Western Fir plywood producers. Floor stocks accumulated, as some producers did not want to go into the market with deep discounts. Canadian plywood producers reported a quiet week. A two point drop at mid-week did little to increase activity. Distributors concentrated on moving contract commitments but did little in the way of cash market purchases. Even though MDF producers continued to nudge some prices higher for certain segments of their customer base, both particleboard and MDF markets have settled into a steadier flow from week to week.

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