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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 March 22, 2013

*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 in the SPF market slowed, but mill prices remained strong, even rising a few dollars in some instances. Weather again hampered sales. A sharp decline in futures early also took steam out of the market. Buyers continued to order Southern Pine lumber volumes at a decent rate, but not as eagerly as the week prior. Mill order files and moderate demand kept upward pressure on most #2 dimension prices. Increases of $5 to $10 were typical. Coastal species lumber trading was strong and steady. Good consumption rates brought buyers back into the market to replenish. Traders often noted the significant amount of jobs taking delivery, waiting on shipments or quoted. The market for Inland species lumber started on a quieter note than in previous weeks. Extended mill order files and limited mill offerings kept buyers on the sidelines. Wholesalers reported steady sales of both truckload and LTL volumes out of reloads. Radiata Pine remained in short supply for Mldg&Btr and Shop was unavailable. Limited offerings of Mldg&Btr were quickly snapped up, often at a premium. The markets for Moulding and Shop remained a struggle for Ponderosa Pine producers. Control of the Ponderosa Pine board market remained in the hands of producers, although sales levels quieted. The slower pace was attributed to lengthy order files, as well as strong pricing. Eastern White Pine producers reported good sales volumes, especially for 12" in both Premium and Standard. Sales of ESLP were steady and prices were slightly higher in some instances. Western Red Cedar producers continued to wait on wood to move through the distribution system before seeing what kind of volumes their customers would need to replenish their inventories.

Panels: OSB producers remained on the sidelines, relying on their order files to help them get through the slow period that has persisted. Most mill offerings were light in volume and firm or higher priced. Southern Pine plywood mills reported a quieter tone to the market but still kept lead times of two to three weeks. Prices for thick rated sheathing items were the most likely to rise across all three zones. While other markets enjoyed steady demand, Western Fir plywood sales remained skimpy in comparison. Producers bemoaned the wintry weather in the northern reaches of the U.S. Canadian plywood continued to struggle a bit. Producers, anticipating better demand to come in the near future, tried to hold prices, even though many of them had light order files. Both western producers and buyers of particleboard noted modest but noteworthy improvements in that market. The market for MDF remained strong. The frenzy earlier this year among buyers to secure supplies has subsided and the market appears more orderly.

For more on RISI, click here.

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AmEx sees America on the move

BY Ken Clark

American Express says 35 million Americans plan to move this year; that’s up 50% from last year.

The New York-based financial company’s Spending & Saving Tracker also reports that seller confidence increased 36%; and 72% plan to spend an average of $4,000 on home improvements.

The data, available in its entirety here, paints an optimistic picture that is consistent with the current theories of a slowly recovering housing market, and even goes a step or two further. Perhaps not coincidentally, the study tracked affluent homeowners (minimum income of $100,000). 

“Consumers are investing in their homes this year across nearly every category from DIY to new home furnishings,” said David Rabkin, senior VP U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “Whether they’re redoing one room or the whole house, there is a significant bump in spending that should bode well for many merchants.”

Even if Americans aren’t moving, the vast majority (72%) of them have at least one home improvement project on their to-do list this year, expecting to spend an average of $4,000, up from $3,500 in 2012.

The tracker study also found:

  • 62% have plans to purchase new home accessories or furniture;
  • 63% are remodeling their interiors, spending an average of $3,300;
  • 39% are remodeling outdoors or landscaping, spending an average of $1,800;
  • 39% are re-doing a single room, spending an average of $2,900; and
  • 33% are updating their appliances, spending an average of $1,033.

While many believe the improvements will add to the value of their home (30%), the majority is upgrading because they want a home that better reflects their personal styles (33%).

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,518 adults, including the general U.S. population, an affluent demographic, defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and homeowners.

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CG&P takes accepts two Walmart supplier awards

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Walmart recognized Central Garden & Pet Co. as the retailer’s Outdoor Living Supplier of the Year. In addition, Central won the People Award for Walmart’s Home Division.

Walmart annually recognizes its top suppliers that demonstrate superior customer service. 

“Winning not just one but two awards from Walmart is a tremendous honor considering the standard of excellence that Walmart instills in every aspect of its business,” said John Ranelli, president and CEO of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet. “Achievements like these represent a collective, company-wide effort to understand our consumer and work in concert with Walmart as partners to drive meaningful value for the consumer. These are core principles we live every day at Central."

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