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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 April 11, 2014

*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: After SPF lumber mills approached the market early with discounts, sales activity began to percolate late Tuesday and increase significantly Wednesday. A large block of #2&Btr sold by one major producer overseas added some energy to the market, as did solid gains in futures Wednesday. While buyers perceived the potential for more downside to Southern Pine lumber prices, producers reported an increase in buyer inquiry. Improved weather increased optimism for a turnaround in prices. Sales momentum in the Coastal species lumber market increased, leading to price floors after early discounts. Wholesalers covered shorts and purchased some extra volumes. Buyers with jobs to cover did so at prices some perceived as the lowest they might experience in awhile. A slight rally at midweek gave traders a glimmer of hope that Inland species dimension lumber markets were improving. However, the jubilance was short lived, as activity slowed by week’s end. Many buyers remained on the sidelines, waiting for the market to establish a clearer direction. Offerings of Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr were light and sold easily at close to published levels. Radiata Pine Shop offerings were non-existent. Sales of Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr remained steady but uneventful, and prices continued to be firm but unchanged. Ponderosa Pine board producers reported increased inquiries from big box stores and national retail chains for #2&Btr. Sales of ESLP boards remained active, as buyers continued to seek that item as a replacement for Ponderosa Pine. Steady sales of Idaho White Pine boards were also reported. Sales of Eastern White Pine Premium grade quieted slightly. Sales activity continued to improve gradually in the Western Red Cedar lumber market. As in other markets, producers continued to experience transportation issues, prompting the late delivery of shipments to their destinations. 

Panels: Even though weather improved in the lower 48 states, supply continued to be the controlling factor in OSB markets. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s in the upper Midwest could not overcome buyers’ lack of confidence in the markets. Increased sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market on Wednesday and momentum through Thursday firmed discounted price levels. Wholesalers purchased moderate volumes, often leery of the degree of market strength. Improved sales at midweek removed discounts from the Western Fir plywood market, established floor pricing and sent prices higher from there. A wide array of buyers entered to replenish inventories. The tone of the Canadian plywood market was one of quiet resolve. With a few exceptions, producers reported light sales and inquiry. With most order files into the last week of April, mill sales managers were content to “wait it out for a bit” before considering price changes. The particleboard market continued to absorb recent price increases, and announcements of increases from other producers continued to enter the market. MDF sales were light. A few mills reported a second consecutive week of markedly slower sales, as customers worked off previous purchases.

For more on RISI, click here.   

 

 

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In Home Depot, magazine takes bilingual approach

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The launch of a bilingual pro-contractor magazine has Home Depot’s VP pro business seeing opportunity to reach more customers.

The magazine — Pro Construction Guide/Constru-Guia al dia — is described as the first fully bilingual pro-targeted magazine in the U.S. It will be available for free in about 2,000 Home Depot stores.

“We are excited to bring the first fully bilingual construction trade magazine to the Pros in all of our U.S. Home Depot stores,” said J.T. Rieves, VP pro business for The Home Depot. “Home Depot has distributed the 100% Spanish-language Constru-Guía al día in more than half of its U.S. stores for nearly seven years, and we have seen it used as a resource by both our associates and our pro customers. By expanding into English-language content and growing the distribution, we’re now making this a resource available to all of our U.S. pro customers.”

Written from one cover in English and from the other in Spanish, the articles will focus on job-site know how, safety, tools/supplies and business basics. It will launch this year with summer and fall issues.

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This mobile app is for the mom-and-pops

BY HBSDEALER Staff

From small business movement Independent We Stand, a new app helps consumers easily locate locally owned businesses across the country in lieu of their big-box competitors.

"This is a tool for travelers and locals alike, giving people the opportunity to find the locals’ favorites or discovering a business they didn’t know existed," said Bill Brunelle, executive director of Independent We Stand. "Using the app is as simple as writing ‘pizza’ or ‘paints’ and having all of those types of independent businesses in your location come up."

The app uses a search engine composed of millions of small businesses, allowing users to easily search using a zip code, location or search term. It also features business pages including Yelp! reviews, photos and website links.

"Big box stores have big budgets for marketing and app development," said Nick Jiannas, VP sales and marketing for STIHL Inc., founding sponsor of Independent We Stand. "But there is growing demand on the part of consumers to buy from local retailers, like our STIHL dealers, and thanks to Independent We Stand small businesses now have a search application of their own to drive traffic right to their doors."

The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Check out the cute (albeit cheesy) "Find Love in All The Local Places" promo trailer here.

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