Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index


A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 23, 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 slowed in the SPF lumber market, as buyers started the long holiday weekend early or chose to digest what they had in inventory. Even so, mills sold some volumes into the week of Dec. 10. Sales activity in the Southern Pine lumber market understandably slowed, but upward price momentum continued. Mills carried order files into early December, and buyers continued to purchase moderate volumes. The sales pace for Coastal species dimension was sluggish, yet any urgency among producers to sell in a quieter market was negligible. With order files in hand, producers were even able to nudge a few prices slightly higher. Although the Inland lumber market was quieter overall, enough buyers were still looking for inventory fill-in items to force prices higher. Activity was greater for 2x6 #2&Btr in both Hem-Fir and Fir-Larch. Buyers of Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop grades stepped in to buy, forcing prices up. Radiata Pine 5/4 Mldg&Btr and 6/4 Mldg&Btr and Shop prices increased. Market prices for Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop also improved, as buyers also stepped into those markets. Limited supplies of Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons kept mill prices firm in spite of slow sales brought on by the short holiday week. Western Red Cedar producers continued to fill orders for December and January. Items such as timber, posts and rails and rough dimension sold well. Decking supplies were tighter.

Panels: The tone of the OSB market in the U.S. was quiet, as buyers and sellers left their desks for the Thanksgiving holiday. Some traders took the entire week off. Canadian mills noticed a slowdown in their sales to U.S. destinations, as well. Limited buyer participation in the Southern Pine plywood market left rated sheathing prices flat and reduced mill lead times. Order files extended into October 3. A few producers had rated sheathing to sell in the week of 11/26. Western Fir plywood producers booked light volumes. Wholesalers sold volumes at discounts to replacement costs, sometimes by as much as $20. Mills trying to sell at lower prices struggled to move any volume. Canadian plywood producers reported light but steady sales. Order files at the major producers were into the week of December 10 or 17, depending on the item. Buyers began discussions with mills on next year's business. Particleboard buyers continued to try to maintain lean inventories toward the year's end where possible. This limited the volumes sold by mills. MDF buyers were more inclined to stay in line to receive their allotted volumes. MDF prices remained much firmer than particleboard.

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