For more on RISI, click here.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 19, 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: Slow trading placed more downward price pressure on SPF lumber. Activity increased Tuesday after traders heard reports of additional sales to Asia, but short covering and other buying in wake of the news quieted by Wednesday morning. All dimensions across all Southern Pine lumber zones were prone to discounts, with 2×8 and 2×10 #2 considered the weakest items. Resistance to high price levels, weather conditions and buyers’ refusal to purchase in a down market all contributed to price weakness. Needing to sell production, Coastal species lumber producers came to market offering double-digit discounts. Buyers often offered well below those discounted levels. Wholesalers liquidating positions also contributed to market weakness. The Inland species lumber market started the week on a quieter note. As the week progressed, the lack of sales began to put downward pressure on prices, and producers became more receptive to offers. Sales of Radiata Pine Shop were non-existent by virtue of nothing being offered by producers. Sales activity continued to improve for Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop grades. Ponderosa Pine board producers held prices in spite of lighter sales volumes. Buyers indicated they had an adequate supply of wood for the time being. Weather was blamed for slower ESLP sales. Eastern White Pine producers reported steady business but little change in pricing. Western Red Cedar producers reported little in the way of increased sales activity, but sales were again enough to limit mill inventories to "workable" levels. Most producers preferred to hold prices until demand in the field improved.
Panels: Weakness in the OSB market was widespread. Offers and discounts were the rule of the day, as producers tried to find a trading level allowing them to build back their order files. Mill sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market was mixed, although most producers reported a less enthusiastic tone. In part due to weakness in other markets such as OSB and lumber, wholesalers and other buyers sensed the potential for vulnerability in plywood. Western Fir plywood mills lowered some prices moderately to keep volumes flowing into the distribution chain. Other prices held onto the prior week’s levels. Producers continued to report order files out only into the week of April 29. Some Canadian plywood distributors said their inventories were adequate for the volumes shipped out of their yards, citing bad weather as the reason for lighter than anticipated business. Western particleboard sales continued to improve, largely due to a tightening of supply in the Southeast. Higher MDF prices and a lack of availability are allowing more imports to enter the United States.
New market for coatings developer: Shoes
Huntsville, Ala.-based Line-X Protective Coatings, a developer and provider of high-performance protective coatings is a strategic partner in the launch of a new water shoe from Under Armour called the Water Spider.
The shoe has a tough Line-X-coated mesh that’s waterproof and color stable, according to the company.
“Line-X is continually looking for new and innovative ways to use our protective coatings products, and when Under Armour approached us for this partnership, we knew it would be a good fit,” said Kevin Heronimus, CEO of Line-X Protective Coatings. “Our research and development team of engineers and chemists are extremely talented and were able to design a product specifically for the Under Armour Water Spider."
GE expands production in Louisville
For the first time, GE is producing a frontload washing machine and matching dryer from one of its U.S. plants.
In Building 1 at GE’s massive Appliance Park, where topload washing machines have been built for about 60 years, two new assembly lines, costing more $100 million, have begun producing high-efficiency frontload washing machines and dryers.
“The new frontload washer and dryer are examples of what we set out to accomplish with our investment in U.S. design and manufacturing capability … producing great products with features and performance that delight consumers,” said GE Appliances president and CEO Chip Blankenship. “Our team is committed to manufacture each unit here in Louisville with the highest quality levels and competitive costs.”
The start-up of these two lines completes the new product platforms GE committed to bring to Appliance Park in a 2010 announcement that stated it would invest $1 billion to transform its U.S. appliances business and products. Since that announcement, GE Appliances has hired 3,000 new employees in Louisville, 2,500 in 2012 alone.
In 2012, GE opened two refurbished factories in Louisville to house the first of the new product platforms — the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater and French door refrigerator. It also added lines in two existing plants for new dishwasher and washing machine models.
Also, as part of the $1 billion investment, GE is investing in cooking products made in Lafayette, Ga., top-freezer refrigerators made in Decatur, Ala., and side-by-side refrigerators made in Bloomington, Ind.
“This is exciting news for our city and region, both for the 200 quality jobs that these new products bring and for the statement it makes about the quality of our local workforce and the confidence GE has in those men and women,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “For Louisville to be the first city in America to build GE’s new state-of-the-art appliances is also super exciting and bodes well for the future of our diverse and growing local economy.”