Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 17, 2017.
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.
SPF sales slowed, eroding some order files while other mills reported selling a little more than a week’s production. Despite the lackluster pace, western mills sold at higher price levels. Eastern dimension prices were flat to up modestly.
- Typical seasonal influences held back Southern Pine sales, but activity was solid. Yards regulated inventories closely, balancing purchases with sales. Producers continued to hear from buyers looking for an alternative to high priced and thinly supplied SPF.
- Most Coastal species lumber prices held at prior levels or dropped moderately. Those most influenced by SPF pricing and supplies remained firm. Mills noted good liquidity across most reported items despite a cautious approach from buyers.
- Inland lumber demand was reported to be strong; most producers noted order files reaching at least a week further out than usual. Prices for #2&Btr were solid, with the exception of Hem-Fir 2×8, which ranged fairly widely among producers.
- Stud demand diminished, prompting traders to perceive a ceiling on some price levels established in the current cycle. Traders expressed the opinion that trading during Thanksgiving week would likely slow further.
- Prices were reported to be unchanged for Radiata Pine industrials.
- Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber supplies were reported to be tight, causing buyers some concerns. Most major users were able to fill their needs by taking smaller volumes in shorter buying cycles, finding it difficult to source material in their usual volumes. In boards, millwork plants searched hard for Ponderosa Pine Commons, especially #3 and #4 Commons. Finding it in sufficient volumes was reported to be difficult.
- Among other 4/4 boards, changes of note were reported in ESLP Commons.
- Market activity in Western Red Cedar continued to resemble what usually occurs in November as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. Buyers filled in inventories with mixed truckload and carload volumes.
The question surrounding OSB markets involves whether or not stabilization is near. Again, prices fell hard this week, leaving buyers unwilling to own any more panel than needed. The pipeline needs wood; however, and buyers are chasing orders, wondering when loads will arrive.
- Southern Pine rated sheathing prices continued to peel back as producers lowered quotes to keep some distance between lead times and production. Rated sheathing order files ranged from the week of November 20 out to Dec. 4.
- Downward price pressure persisted in Western Fir plywood. Buyers received numerous phone calls from mills looking to sell quick shipping volumes. Deeper discounts did entice buyers to purchase more volume while other producers chose to “grind it out” by limiting the depth of price cuts.
- Very little changed in the Canadian plywood market this week, as it maintained its strength and stability. Activity was steady, albeit mellow, through most provinces. The emphasis for producers centered on moving order file. Pricing is sideways from last week.
- Producers of particleboard and MDF experienced much of the same kind of week they have over the past month. Some reported being a bit busier, as customers tried to check off their lists prior to the holiday week. Prices for both MDF and particleboard held.
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Lowe’s names new COO
Lowe’s has named Richard Maltsbarger as the retailer’s new chief operating officer.
Maltsbarger previously served as Lowe’s chief development officer and as president of international operations. He succeeds Rick Damron who will retire after 36 years with the company, Lowe’s said. In his new role, Maltsbarger will oversee store operations, supply chain, pro operations and services, while working closely with Lowe’s chief customer officer Michael McDermott.
"Richard is a proven leader with a keen understanding of our business and industry. He brings vast consumer knowledge from various roles within Lowe's and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of our strategy,” Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president, and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “We are confident that in this new role, Richard will continue to enhance our capabilities and processes as we execute our plans and meet customers' rapidly evolving expectations."
Niblock added, "On behalf of the board and management team, I want to thank Rick for his innumerable contributions to Lowe's over his distinguished career during the past three decades. Rick has worked across every aspect of our operations, and his ideas and initiatives have positively impacted Lowe's employees and customers. We wish him all the best in his retirement."
[Related news: Lowe's posts Q3 sales and earnings gains.]
"I have a great deal of admiration and respect for the Lowe's organization and management team and look forward to working with Richard to ensure a smooth transition,” Damron said. “Lowe's is well positioned for continued success, and I have the utmost confidence in our employees and the company's long-term growth opportunities."
Maltsbarger was named chief development officer in 2014 and president of Lowe’s international business in 2015. In his current role, Maltsbarger is responsible for corporate strategy, business development and international operations. Maltsbarger joined Lowe's in 2004 as director of customer analytics and held various senior leadership roles including business development executive, senior vice president of strategy, vice president of strategic planning and vice president of research.
Based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s operates more than 2,370 stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
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CORRECTION: A headline of a previous version of this article incorrectly described the position as CFO.