Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 1, 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: Sales activity in the SPF lumber market remained lackluster, eroding mill order files and forcing producers to lower quotes in some instances. Thursday’s moderate gain in futures gave some buyers and excuse to participate. Prices in Southern Pine maintained the same direction they have now taken for the past several weeks. Stronger gains appeared in 2×4 and 2×6 #2, with mills able to push those prices as much as $20 higher. Wide width pricing remained weak. Producers reported a quiet week of sales on the dry side of the Coastal species lumber market. Quotes were lowered early in the week. Meanwhile, green Doug Fir prices remained solid. Most Inland lumber producers are content to call the market flat or unchanged, taking modest volumes of orders and keeping the market tidy. Some discounting, however, has occurred. Reports indicate declines in most Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir #2&Btr dimension lumber. In Radiata Pine, neither New Zealand nor Chile acceded to the wishes of discounters, both countries keeping their prices stable. A volume of Ponderosa Pine in both 5/4 and 6/4 Mldg&Btr was sold, and a good volume of both 5/4 and 6/4 #3 Shop entered the books. Major activity took place in Ponderosa Pine #2 Commons, resulting in sizable discounts on some items. Most of this action came from mills needing to reduce sizable inventories. Inland Cedar producers report that the market is perhaps best in D Select, with #3 firm. Producers of Western Red Cedar accepted a more pedestrian pace that late July and August usually bring. Buyers continued to purchase after selling enough volumes from their yards, but new orders often consisted of highly specified mixes.
Panels: OSB market direction went mostly sideways or down this week, making the situation seem like a broken record. Prompt wood is available, and most order files only go out a week or two. A few producers pulled off the market, which had little to no impact. Sales activity at Southern Pine plywood mills settled down after last week’s surge. More lead times moved into the week of Aug. 25 or beyond. Wholesalers purchased much less than the week prior but remained bullish. Western Fir plywood producers succeeded at wringing $5 to $10 more out of sheathing market after watching much of the price momentum established the week prior dry up. Canadian plywood markets sobered up this week, with no price movements since last Friday’s jump to nearly $500 for Toronto 3/8” spruce. Inventory was reported short in the pipeline and activity strong on the retail level. But distributors took a breather, reeling in purchasing activity this week. Stronger shipments than expected for the month of July surprised some particleboard and MDF producers. Other than normal sales, most sources reported an uneventful week.
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Lumber Liquidators lays it forward
Hardwood flooring company Lumber Liquidators has donated one of its Dura Dance flooring systems to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Highsteppers Drill Team as part of its Lay It Forward charity campaign.
The 15-year-old drill team recently moved into a new space, but didn’t have a proper floor, which led to Lumber Liquidators installing the Dura Dance system, which features underlying rubber to reduce impact and absorb energy.
"The young ladies at Highsteppers are confronted with tough issues everyday, but through dance we are able to help them overcome adversity and uncover their talents and capabilities," Highsteppers Founder and Director Kelli Harmon-Dobson said. "It’s donations like Lumber Liquidators’ that helped us open our own studio so we could continue to provide young women in the community with a place to dance and develop."
According to Lumber Liquidators CEO Robert Lynch, the donation will “support Highsteppers’ commitment to developing young women and the community they serve.
Olympia unveils new line of lights, power solutions
Flashlight company Olympia unveiled a new line of flashlights and headlamps, as well as two-way radios, solar chargers and rechargeable batteries at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. The new products are focused on energy efficiency.
Among the new flashlight offerings are aluminum with five light settings, and they all use LED lights. The most high-end flashlight in the line comes with a charger built in for the Lithium-Ion battery inside and it retails for $89.99. Olympia’s EX headlamps also have LED bulbs for longer battery life, and the line includes waterproof lights, hands-free headlamps.
Other lights introduced in Salt Lake City were Olympia’s Wilderness Series LED lanterns with rechargeable batteries that will be available in October. This is around the same time the company starts selling its LED portable floodlights.
The company’s new two-way radios will begin retailing in September and come in three models. The top-of-the-line R500 model features an LED flashlight. All of them can be charged with a micro-USB.
In addition to expanding its product offerings, Olympia introduced more ways to charge their products. In addition to a line of Lithium-ion battery line that will be available in October, the company has also introduced solar chargers. One of the chargers is fully reliant on solar energy, and another has a combination of a battery and solar panels.