A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 1, 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: Modest trading levels in the SPF lumber market had little influence on dimension lumber prices. Most prices were sticky, able to hold onto previous levels or edge slightly higher where availability was tight. Trading in the Southern Pine lumber market slowed to a snail's pace, prompting attempts by some producers to get out ahead of the market. Most producers tried to sell #2 at $10 to $15 discounts, which usually garnered orders consisting of mixes and highly specified tallies. Light trading in the Coastal species lumber market and the need for some mills to move volumes created some minor discounts, but prices for both dry and green dimensions were flat overall. Activity in the Inland species lumber market was quieter during the shortened holiday week. Mill order files were out to the week of June 18 on some items. Buyers looking for quicker shipments turned to wholesalers and reloads, with mixed success. Eastern White Pine producers remained selective in taking new business while shipping existing orders. Sales improved for ESLP #2&Btr and #3, while #4 remained a tough sale. Producers of Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons reported a steady but uninspiring pace to the market. Although buyers purchased selectively, mills did not feel much pressure to lower prices on most items. Moulding and Shop buyers found Ponderosa Pine producers a little more receptive to their needs after the long weekend. Buyers were able to cover their needs for Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr but had to pay a bit more to do so. Sales volumes in the Western Red Cedar market remained relatively strong, but producers did not find it easy to achieve higher prices. Rising log costs and the inability for some producers to achieve higher prices generated some frustration.
Panels: OSB mills carried order files into the week of June 18, which kept producers in the driver's seat. Prices continued to increase. Distributors reported good sales volumes to dealers. Limited sales activity and eroding order files prompted some Southern Pine plywood producers to negotiate. Distributors and wholesalers participated at the lower prices. Solid and somewhat sporadic demand prompted Western Fir plywood producers to raise prices. Demand out of Canada for CCX volumes was strong. Lean inventories in the distribution chain forced other buyers back into the market. The Canadian plywood market maintained strength and momentum through another week. The market does have a two-tier look about it, but delivery time rather than price is the difference. Particleboard sales were not as robust as in prior weeks. Some of this was blamed on buyers easing back into their offices after the long holiday weekend. MDF order files remained strong.