LUMBERYARDS

Foote to step down as USG CEO in 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based USG Corp. announced that current president and COO James Metcalf will assume the duties of CEO and president, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Current CEO William Foote will continue in his role as chairman of the USG Corp. board of directors.

“It has been a distinct privilege to lead this great company over the past 15 years,” Foote said. “Jim has prepared himself extremely well to become USG’s next chief executive, and I look forward to working closely with him as he assumes this well-deserved role.”

Metcalf joined USG in 1980 as a sales trainee. In addition to his experience in the company’s sales organization, he has served as president of the company’s building systems unit, which includes United States Gypsum Co. and USG Interiors, and president of its L&W Supply Corp. distribution business. Metcalf serves on the board of directors of USG, Molex Inc. and the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also a policy advisory board member for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, a chair of the Business Advisory Committee for the Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale, Ill., and a trustee of the USG Foundation.

 

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Sept. 28, 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: SPF lumber prices weakened further in response to producers trying to sell volumes with greater urgency and limited demand from buyers. Inquiries fielded by producers were limited in volume and often highly specified and mixed. Southern Pine lumber volumes available for quick shipment were priced to sell, as September closed and producers looked to invoice as much volume as possible. Mills listened to counters. Coastal species lumber mills were again forced to enter the market with sizable volumes to sell, placing downward pressure on prices. Buyers, trying to hedge against lower prices in the near future, countered deeply. Mills accepted the deepest counters to move floor stocks. The Inland species lumber market remained weak, but the volume of discounted sales slowed as mills cleaned up excesses. The flow of material through the system remained good, and distributers and reloads reported good sales and shipments to their customers. The highlight for Eastern White Pine producers was strong sales of 10-in. and 12-in. Standard, which pushed order files out three to five weeks. Sales of other widths and grades were slower. Sales activity in the Ponderosa Pine board market was sporadic. Overall, sales were lackluster. The market for Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop grades remained quiet. Need rather than price seemed to be the determining factor where buying decisions were concerned. The Radiata Pine market remains flat for Mldg&Btr. Traders reported booking business for November delivery at current price levels. Expecting Western Red Cedar market activity to have begun to subside by now, some producers were pleasantly surprised by the volumes still selling heading into October. Prices were steady.

Panels: OSB sales volumes at the mill level were light and most came with counters to quoted levels. Wholesalers concentrated on selling off their contract commitments, usually below replacement costs. Traders were successful putting some back to back business together. Prices were weak. Southern Pine plywood buyers purchased sparingly, limiting the extent of mills’ order files to the week of Oct. 8. Volumes available for quicker shipment were popular among those buyers needing to cover immediate needs. Western Fir plywood producers were forced to aggressively seek CDX sales. Order files extended into the week of Oct. 8, but plenty of volumes were available for quicker shipments. The Canadian plywood market developed into a two tier market, as some distributors sold at below replacement costs in order to lighten inventory positions. Distribution yards reported steady sales. Particleboard producers continued to adjust production according to demand, still producing more than what is being consumed. MDF production was readily absorbed, with any extra production quickly bought up.

For more on RISI, click here.

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Pending home sales slip in June

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, declined 2.6% to 75.7 based on contracts signed in June from an upwardly revised level of 77.7 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The index, released Tuesday, is 18.6% below June 2009 when it was 93.0. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months, according to the NAR.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said lower home sales are expected in the short term.

“There could be a couple of additional months of slow home-sales activity before picking up later in the year, provided the job market continues to improve,” Yun said. “Over the short term, inventory will look high relative to home sales. However, since home prices have come down to fundamentally justifiable levels, there isn’t likely to be any meaningful change to national home values. Some local markets continue to show strengthening prices.”

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