Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 25, 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: Sluggish sales on the domestic front continued to sap any potential strength from the SPF lumber market. Even though sales were minimal, prices adjusted little. When they did move, the direction was slightly downward, with those moves attracting few additional buyers. A lack of urgency among buyers to approach Southern Pine lumber suppliers with needs continued. Those inquiries mills fielded were often accompanied by sizable counters. Some of the counters were from treaters who entered the market early to purchase replenishment volumes. Despite some lower Coastal Species lumber prices, generated by modest demand, balance between production and volumes purchased remained intact for the most part. Inland Species lumber production is at a low ebb, about matching the slack demand. This permits producers to maintain very firm prices for dimension lumber, even edging prices up from time to time. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr has not yet taken another upward step, holding at the previous levels. The price of #2&Btr Shop remains strong, adding another $5 to its values. Selects have made some changes among California producers in recent trading, with C&Btr prices adjusting downward. Inland producers continue to show unchanged price lists. Idaho White Pine is being processed for shipment among key producers, most of it having been sold. Eastern White Pine producers have seen both demand and selling levels perk up for Premium items in recent weeks. Radiata Pine lumber shows some significant upward price changes, beginning with Mldg&Btr. Shop is also moving toward firmer levels. Signs of greater sales activity heading into spring dotted the Western Red Cedar market. Several suppliers of various items to home center chains reported moderately improved sales over last year.
PANELS: Perceiving a period of improved demand, Western Fir plywood mills sometimes pulled volumes from the market after extending order files to two weeks. Price increases of $10 to $20 were common in CDX panels. Sales activity accelerated Wednesday, generating price increases in the Southern Pine plywood market. Mills edged rated sheathing prices up in $5 increments, often ending $10 above the prior week’s levels. OSB producers, especially in the West, are using export sales as a means of declaring market strength, but the volume of those sales is not clear. Canadian plywood mills with JAS stamps have taken significant volumes of export business made at sizable premiums to domestic wood. As a result, domestic prices have also risen. Producers of particleboard and MDF continue to battle the marketplace, needing to get more money but finding buyers unresponsive in an environment of little urgency.
At Lowe’s, a car wipes out a row of grills
An incident at a Louisiana Lowe’s store Thursday revealed one of the drawbacks of outdoor merchandising. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported a motorist crashed into a Lowe’s store near Covington, La., Thursday, running over a row of grills.
No one was injured in the incident, according to the report. The driver reportedly lost control of her Toyota Camry as she attempted to park in a space reserved for handicapped drivers.
Meet the Plogg
Energy Optimizers Limited, a British-based energy technology firm, has introduced a new device, called The Plogg, that evaluates the energy performance and profile of electrical appliances based upon actual consumer behavior.
The Plogg is a combined smart meter plug and data logger. It can be attached to any electrical appliance or device that uses a standard socket in USA, U.K., or French formats. The Plogg is able to measure the electrical energy consumption of connected devices and appliances at high levels of resolution, up to one minute as standard and at higher levels of up to two seconds in customized versions.
The benefit for appliance manufacturers is the capability to unobtrusively use the Plogg in field trials in order to observe consumers’ behavior and actual patterns of use during each cycle and time period, whether daily or weekly. This data assists the manufacturer in identifying the commonly used operating programs and to optimize the energy efficiency of the appliance based upon actual behavior patterns rather than simulated laboratory tests.
Data logging on The Plogg can be set to either “event” dependence or “time” dependence. Detailed data captured on the performance of the appliance is stored on the Plogg until downloaded to a PC locally or remotely via the Internet.
Energy Optimizers Limited manufactures Smart Grid technologies for load profiling, demand response, distributed generation and renewables markets. Its Smart Grid Technologies include wireless gateways, smart meter plugs and load controls for domestic and commercial appliances. Energy Optimizers Limited participates in a number of publicly funded European research and development projects.