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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 Feb. 11, 2011

*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: Despite winter weather persisting throughout much of the country, SPF distributors purchased those needs likely to deliver after snows have melted. Narrow width prices bounced by $10 to $16 off their lows. Southern Pine dimension lumber sold at discounts, ranging widely from $5 to $25, depending on the item. The deepest cuts came out of the West, where 2×12 #2 discounts of $15 to $20 appeared. Central and East zone price declines were more of the $5 to $10 variety. Coastal species lumber prices firmed as the week progressed, strengthened by a round of buying. Green Doug Fir demand out of Southern California increased. The entire spectrum of Inland lumber species came in for adjustment this week. Relative to last week’s levels, all Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir #2&Btr narrows dropped $10, on average, and wides shed $20. Ponderosa Pine industrials remain tight, with the exception of low grades. Mldg&Btr showed increases, #2&Btr Shop continues to earn a slight premium, and #3 Shop is unchanged. The combined forces of inclement weather and mill production are serving to keep prices of certain Selects and Commons soft. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr "looks like it is trying to firm up a little," while Shop is very firm and stable, but very little is available. Idaho White Pine production appears in mid-cycle, with mills either having sold their runs or preparing for another. Eastern White Pine producers have geared production to demand, but even so the weather has caused a real ordering gap among eastern retailers. Weather slowed consumption, but Western Red Cedar mavens questioned whether volumes sold would be significantly more if the weather was better.

PANELS: Improved sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market allowed producers to increase prices, affording some relief in their battle with high veneer costs. Discounts for Southern Pine rated sheathing on Tuesday dried up, and by Friday mills were selling at or above published levels. What began as a short-covering rally turned into a general market push, with OSB prices moving quickly. Most of the activity has been generated by the United States, with Canada being "pulled along," as one manager noted. The situation in Canadian plywood has changed a little from last week, a little better for some producers and a little less so for others. Particleboard activity levels this week seem a bit slower than last week, but still better than the fourth quarter. The same is true of MDF, although it appears to be slightly more active this week than particleboard.

Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report

For more on RISI, click here.

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Police nab trailer of hot appliances

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A semi-trailer full of washers, dryers and television sets — most of them allegedly purchased from Home Depot and Lowe’s using stolen credit cards — was pulled over by sheriff deputies in Parma, Mich., according to an article in the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Two unnamed Alabama men were arrested and questioned about the merchandise, valued at $30,000, which is believed to have been purchased from a Home Depot store in Benton Harbor and a Lowe’s store in Kalamazoo, according to authorities.

The Combined Organized Retail Enforcement Task Force also questioned the suspects and may be putting together a larger case involving additional suspects in several other states, police said.

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Readers Respond: The Made-in-the-USA trend

BY HBSDEALER Staff

"We are a single store that has recently won the Best of Long Island (N.Y.) award for a hardware store. Since there are 3 million people on Long Island, we are very proud of that. One of the things we strive for besides unmatched customer service and having products in stock when others don’t is having unique items.

"One unfortunate thing we found was ‘Made in the USA’ was becoming a unique thing. We now have a program in the store where we identify on each hook if an item is Made in the USA. We use a simple Made in the USA sticker placed onto the scanning tag. When we were at the 2010 National Hardware Show, we noticed that domestic manufacturers were placing more of an emphasis on being made here in the USA. 

“We also found that customers are willing to pay a higher price on an item if they see it is made here in the USA. That is something we did not think we would see, especially in a down economy, but many see it as helping their own." 
— George Uribe
L.I. Hardware

"[Made in the USA] will be a part of our 2011 marketing campaign. We will highlight products that are ‘Made in the USA’ by stickers attached to the product shelf labeling, and identifying them in our circular and radio promotions."  
— Tom Hardman

"We have found our customers prefer Made in the USA. Partly for patriotic reasons, but mainly because they are smart enough to know that price is comparable, quality is as good or better, and delivery and in-stock positions are much better. 

“Any U.S. company that is following Lean principles will be able to deliver products better. No one has yet to perfect any software to accurately plan for three-month delivery times versus domestic-finished goods positions. Those companies that import and have good fill rates also have too much inventory, which is a true carrying cost. Bottom line: Why do global auto makers build factories close to their customers?"
— Randy Boonstra

 

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