Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 30, 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: The appearance of prompt shipping SPF lumber forced producers to lower quotes and listen to offers below those new levels. A perception that ample availability exists at mills prompted buyers to hold out. Traders with little or no position considered themselves in a good situation. While most Southern Pine lumber producers reported a moderate sales pace, demand at distribution yards remained strong. Most prices gained, but 2×6 #2 prices dropped to their lows for the year across all zones. Limited demand made it more difficult for Coastal species lumber producers to sell production. Green Doug Fir prices continued to struggle while buyers in the California market worked through previously purchased inventory. The Inland species lumber market lost momentum, and producers had to adjust prices down in order to write business. Weak markets for SPF and other species put buyers on the defensive. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr sales volumes were light but sufficient to cover producers’ offerings. Shop grades remained in short supply, with prices reported at or above published levels. Ponderosa Pine Shop producers reported mill order files out to the end of June or early July. Shop buyers reported moderate needs and adequate inventories for the near future. Demand for Ponderosa Pine boards remained good. Producers report activity for wide #2 has improved. Eastern White Pine producers reported a good pace to the market. Potential buyers of ESLP often had to make multiple phone calls to find coverage. Strong sales of Western Red Cedar over the Memorial Day weekend at retail stores prompted them to replenish volumes and begin looking ahead to the Fourth of July holiday. Most producers reported very few floor stocks.
Panels: OSB markets continued to decline as more producers came back into the market with reduced prices. Wholesalers struggled to move off contracts and many times took a loss in order to do so. Traders reported some success in selling back to back orders. Sales at Southern Pine plywood mills were mixed, depending heavily on what items mills were willing to discount enough to sell to buyers looking for deals. For another week, 19/32” and 23/32” rated sheathing drew the deepest price cuts. Western Fir plywood producers entered the week with slim order files, forcing them to discount early — some significantly deeper than others. Buyers were careful about purchasing in a market in which prices still had room to decline. Canadian plywood producers reported a quiet week of sales. Buyers filled a few holes in their inventories, but most were content to stay on the sidelines for the time being. Yards reported steady activity, with shipments going out the gate on a regular basis. Sales for most particleboard producers were not as strong as previous weeks. The shortened week received much of the blame. MDF sales were lackluster. Several producers reported selling short of their week’s production.
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Orchard Supply president describes ‘shining’ future
San Jose, California-based Orchard Supply Hardware president Richard Maltsbarger said the future looks bright for the West Coast chain, especially after a $20 million investment in Northern California stores.
The investment includes a complete rebuild of the Orchard Supply Hardware San Jose – Midtown, which will serve as the flagship of the 73-store chain that stretches from Portland, Oregon, to Southern California.
“The San Jose – Midtown Orchard location reflects our deep California roots dating back to 1931 when the first store was founded by a cooperative of Santa Clara Valley fruit growers,” said Maltsbarger. “The brand new store, built and designed from the ground up, is a statement about the shining future of the Orchard Supply Hardware brand and our plans for future growth all along the West Coast.”
Additionally, Orchard has invested to remodel and modernize stores in San Rafael, Livermore and East Modesto. Every remodeled and new Orchard store reflects the company’s new neighborhood format, which is designed to optimize traffic flow and minimize wait time — all enhanced by Orchard’s legendary customer service.
Orchard is owned by Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s. The California chain operates, however, as a stand-alone business.
“We have a significant opportunity to capture market share not being met by big-box or smaller, specialty retailers,” said Maltsbarger. “We meet the specific needs of local customers focusing on the unique features of their neighborhoods. For example, a neighborhood with predominantly multi-family units will have different hardware and garden needs than a store in a suburban community.”
DeWalt rolls out TSTAK storage
DeWalt introduced the new TSTAK Trolley — model DWST179999 — joining the TSTAK family of storage solutions.
The new TSTAK Trolley features front casters that swivel 360 degrees and heavy-duty air filled back wheels for easy maneuverability. Side latches on the TSTAK Trolley provide easy connectivity for carrying and safe stacking. A three-position telescopic aluminum handle adjusts for convenient mobility. The Trolley’s load capacity is up to 220 pounds and retails for approximately $129.99 in the independent channel.
The Trolley is designed for stacking and pulling all the components of the TSTAK family of innovative storage solutions.
The clear top organizer — model DWST17805 — incorporates small parts storage into the TSTAK system. The organizer comes complete with nine removable compartments for small parts storage or, when removed, power tool or hand tool storage. The heavy-duty polycarbonate, clear, impact-resistant lid locks the compartments into place. This prevents the items being stored from shifting and getting mixed if the box is accidentally overturned. The DWST17805 will retail for approximately $34.99 in the independent channel.
The deep box organizer — model DWST17806 — provides users with the largest storage capacity of the TSTAK units. This allows users to store larger power tools and hand tools within their TSTAK system. A removable tray is included in this unit. The DWST17806 will retail for approximately $34.99 in the independent channel.
As the weight of tools quickly adds up and to allow easy transportation of tools, DeWalt has launched the TSTAK cart — model DWST17889. The cart features four 360-degree swiveling wheels for maximum maneuverability. Side latches securely connect the user’s TSTAK storage units to the cart.
The DWST17889 is compact and lightweight for easy handling and storage when not in use. A load capacity of up to 110 pounds (50 kilograms) allows the user to transport up to five TSTAK units. The cart will retail for approximately $59.99 and will be available in the independent channel.