Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for June 3, 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: SPF lumber buyers in both Canada and the United States participated in keeping mill supplies in check. Volumes sold into the week of June 20 were often the extent of order files, with 2×4 #2&Btr making up a large share of the sales. Although Southern Pine lumber mills have cut back production, and reports of minor curtailments here and there continue to surface, prices overall remained weak, as mills were again forced to discount. Recent reductions in the volumes of lumber available helped keep Coastal species lumber prices on firmer footing and increases of $5 to $10 often took hold. Phone activity into late Thursday encouraged Inland species lumber managers to think more positively about the general market. Both Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir narrows added a few dollars to previous levels, but wides were generally stagnant. Ponderosa Pine lumber is in good demand, and all prices are either very stable or stronger. Mldg&Btr holds at established levels, as does the price of all #2&Btr Shop. Commons are something of a jumbled picture, largely dependent on mixed loads and subject to some discounting. Idaho White Pine Utility has been sold out at $295 and above. Standard items are quiet. Eastern White Pine shows a little more activity since the sun came out, but prices are simply firm at this point. Radiata Pine is little changed, and although producers advocate increases, U.S. users are adamant about keeping the prices unchanged. While most Western Red Cedar producers saw little change in the amount of sales activity experienced, spotty bumps in demand were reported. This pressure placed on the market due to limited supplies was not strong enough to lift prices.
PANELS: Limited demand continued to place modest downward pressure on Western Fir plywood prices, despite recent production curtailments. Having established modest order files, Southern Pine plywood producers were more likely to hold price levels. Demand remained sluggish, which did force spotty discounts of $5 to $10 for rated sheathing items. Although some areas of the country do show some price gains for OSB, those gains are primarily the result of cost-related curtailments among producers. Demand is still very lax across the continent. Canadian plywood mills continue to cite the C$296 baseline for 9.5 mm CSP sheathing delivered into Toronto. The field, however, is selling nearer C$290, with the thought that sales are thin at even that reduced level. Better agreement on price levels is being achieved, with particleboard and MDF producers seeking price increases, despite the slack overall demand.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report
After a string of declines, AHMA index improves in May
The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index improved in May to 175 from 166.7 in April (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index declined to 179.3 from 231 a month earlier.
Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA), said: “After four consecutive months of declines, it is encouraging to see the AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s current situation index improve in May. As we move into the summer retail selling season, it is our hope that consumers feel confident enough in their overall economic situation to resume spending, thereby moving product through the entire channel and creating an opportunity for future sales.”
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 42% of respondents said sales were higher in May versus year-ago levels, up from 40% in April. For May, 21% reported sales were even, and 38% said sales were below year-ago levels.
Looking forward six months, 42% of May respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 57% in April. In May, 50% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months and 8% expect sales to be below current levels.
Looking forward one year, 62% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 77% who felt that way in April. Thirty-three percent of May respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 4% project sales will be below current levels.
Leviton promotes marketing executive
Peter Kleinman has been promoted to the position of director of marketing for Leviton’s distribution channel.
In his new post, he will be reporting to William W. Marshall, Leviton’s senior VP sales and marketing. Kleinman will lead the marketing, branding and advertising for the company’s full line of products across the distribution sales channel.
In a career spanning over 20 years with Leviton, Kleinman has held a series of positions in both marketing and communications. Kleinman was instrumental in Leviton’s 2007 rebranding campaign and helped successfully facilitate the transition on an enterprise level.
Before joining Leviton, he was a creative management member at Esquire Magazine, an award-winning creative director and editor of The National Lampoon, and VP marketing at Sekani Inc., where he built and ultimately sold a company that provided content via the Web efficiently for Fortune 500 companies. “Peter’s background, creativity and experience will help us take our industry-leading marketing to a new level of technological excellence and effectiveness” Marshall said. “We are excited to have him in this strategic role.”