Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for July 1, 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: Sales activity in the SPF lumber market increased. Mills raised prices early and continued to do so throughout the week, with narrow width #2&Btr pricing ending $10-15 higher. Competition for orders among Southern Pine lumber producers forced more discounting. Despite already low price levels, discounts of $5-10 were abundant. Sales of Coastal species lumber maintained a solid pace. All dry Doug Fir prices managed increases of at least $5 and green prices were consistent. Coastal Hem-Fir 2×4 and 2×12 #2&Btr held, while those widths in between climbed $5 higher. Inland species lumber prices have remained near recent levels and have gained a few dollars in some items. Fir-Larch remains stronger than Hem-Fir, based on shortness of supply. Strongest of all the items in Ponderosa Pine are the low grades. Both #3 Shop and P99 are in demand, bringing premiums of up to $30 for some producers. The 6/4 Shop is still tighter than 5/4, and 6/4 Mldg&Btr now sells for up to $1430. Both #3 and #4 Common are moving better than #2, with #3 riding the demand from exports.
PANELS:Mill buildups of Western Fir plywood were sold in order to establish a better position heading into the holiday weekend, usually with discounts. The Southern Pine plywood market lacked energy, neither negative nor positive. Prices were static, for the most part, although some exhibited a soft bias. OSB prices in all zones are very flat, although producers continue to reach for a few extra dollars in the Southeast. The conditions in Canadian plywood have become routine: production adjustments as needed to accommodate mediocre demand. The baseline price of C$299 for 9.5 mm CSP sheathing delivered to Toronto is still in place, although some producers continue to promote slightly firmer levels. Most particleboard and MDF producers in both the West and South have been able to capture much of their planned price increases, but with demand being soft it has been a difficult proposition.
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Retailers to help improve air quality at ports
A group of national retailers that includes Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart has joined with trucking companies and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the amount of diesel emissions at the nation’s ports.
The public-private partnership, called the SmartWay Drayage Program, uses incentives to persuade independent owner operators and trucking companies to replace their older drayage trucks with cleaner, less polluting models. Drayage trucks, typically older and more polluting than long-haul trucks, operate in and around port areas and represent one of the largest sources of diesel emissions associated with ports.
Through the EPA’s SmartWay Drayage program, port trucking companies and independent owner-operators sign a partnership agreement and commit to track diesel emissions, replace older dirtier trucks with cleaner, newer ones, and achieve at least a 50% reduction in particulate matter (PM) and 25% reduction in nitrous oxide (NOx), below the national industry average, within three years. Low-interest loans and down payment assistance is available through a variety of federal, state, regional and local programs.
Similarly, SmartWay retailers sign a partnership agreement where they commit to ship at least 75% of their port cargo with SmartWay trucking carriers within three years. By giving business priority to SmartWay drayage carriers, the program creates a market-driven approach to incentivize emissions reductions at port communities across the country.
SmartWay Drayage charter partners include the following retailers: The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, JC Penney; Nike, Best Buy, Hewett Packard and the following port trucking carriers: California Cartage Express, LLC; California Multimodal, LLC; Container Connection; Evans Delivery Company, Inc.; GSC Logistics; PDS Trucking Inc.; Performance Team/GaleTriangle; Total Transportation Services, Inc.; and Western Ports Transportation.
IKEA plugs in seventh solar-energy system
IKEA officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in East Palo Alto, Calif.
The 38,000-square-foot array consists of a 302-kW system, built with approximately 1,344 panels. IKEA East Palo Alto’s program will produce approximately 427,900 kWh of clean electricity annually – the equivalent of eliminating the emissions of 58 cars, the company said.
This initiative by IKEA will contribute to the local utility’s renewable portfolio goals and will lower the carbon intensity of the electrical grid. The East Palo Alto effort represents the seventh solar energy project for IKEA in the United States. Systems already are operational in: Brooklyn, N.Y; Burbank, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Tejon, Calif.; and Tempe, Ariz., with both a solar energy system and a geothermal system operational at the Denver-area store opening this July in Centennial, Colo. Also, there currently are plans underway to install systems at five other IKEA locations in California as well as eight more in the Eastern U.S.