News

Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Feb. 2, 2018.

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 sales activity at mills slowed, particularly demand for the key narrow width items, but prices remained solid or edged higher. While buyers looked to wholesalers to cover needs, wholesalers also reported a slower pace to their sales. Down moves in lumber futures early in the week garnered some of the blame for the pullback. 

  • Southern Pine pricing continued to move strongly upward. Mills sold steady volumes, maintaining solid order files extending two weeks, and in a few instances, longer. Tight availability often made it difficult for buyers to locate specific needs.
  • Limited supplies and enough demand to absorb them kept strong upward pressure on many Coastal species prices. Doug Fir producers raised narrow-width prices aggressively and sold at sharply higher levels. Buyers wasted little time purchasing sporadic mill offerings at elevated price levels.
  • The speed with which Inland pricing has moved accelerated further, pushing lumber prices beyond or very near record levels. The nexus of price gains was Std&Btr/#2&Btr lumber, which moved swiftly enough to drag Select Structural/#1&Btr upward and lift both Utility/#3 and Economy lumber into some movement.
  • Stud pricing maintained upward momentum. Prices remained particularly strong in 9-foot, with both 2×4 and 2×6 showing double digit gains. Increases in 10-foot also occurred. Supplies across a number of species remained tight.
  • The trend of upward Ponderosa Pine prices continued, with both 5/4 and 6/4 Shop adding $10 to previous levels. Remanufacturers voiced pain at the new levels, but they generally hesitated only briefly before putting in new orders. Ponderosa Pine Selects have remained unchanged for a couple of weeks; not so the Commons, which were driven higher in prices by producers who fear running out of inventory before new logs come in.
  • Western Red Cedar producers reported good sales activity. Getting the wood to market was not as fluid. Truck and railcar availability remained tight, creating a bottleneck at the mill level. 

Panels

OSB availability was squeezed by producers off the market and transportation issues putting shipments late. However, activity was widely noted slower as the system digested volumes purchased in recent weeks. Order files are into mid- to late February, and some early March. 

  • Southern Pine plywood flowed from mills at a steady rate, propelling prices again higher. Mill offerings across many items were sporadic as producers pulled volumes from the market at varying intervals. Mill order files ranged from the week of Feb. 19 out to March 5.
  • After a relatively slow start to the week, Western Fir plywood buyers reentered the market at midweek and began to purchase significant volumes. The quicker pace extended order files and placed continued upward pressure on prices.
  • Canadian plywood entered a digestive mode this week after several weeks of almost frenzied buying. Markets remained very solid with everyone bullish, but order files out 10 weeks cooled things down a little. Order files moved solidly into the first week of April, with some wood remaining for March 26.
  • Eastern particleboard and MDF producers noted an increase in sales. However, some of the additional buying activity came on the heels of weeks in which weather inhibited sales. 

For more on RISI, click here.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant:
News

Simpson Manufacturing Q4 sales growth fueled by acquisitions

BY HBSDealer Staff

Simpson Manufacturing reported fourth quarter 2017 consolidated net sales of $231.7 million, a 16% increase compared to $200.2 million in the fourth quarter 2016.

Recently acquired businesses as a whole accounted for $8.3 million (26%) of the increased net sales, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based building products manufacturer said.

For the full year, Simpson reported consolidated net sales of $977 million, up 14% from consolidated net sales of $860.7 million in 2016. Acquired businesses accounted for nearly $48 million of increased net sales.

The company also reported a net income of $13.1 million for the quarter, nearly a 25% drop from a consolidated net income of $17.4 million in the fourth quarter a year ago.

Simpson reported that recently acquired businesses as a whole recorded a net loss of $3.4 million in the fourth quarter 2017.

Simpson’s consolidated net income for all of 2017 was $92.6 million, a 3% increase from $89.7 million in 2016. Recently acquired businesses contributed a net income of $1.8 million for the year.

Looking ahead, Karen Colonias, president and CEO of Simpson Manufacturing, said, “We feel we are well positioned to achieve an 8% compound annual growth rate in net sales through 2020 supported by anticipated mid-single digit growth in U.S. housing starts, the $30 million opportunity for our mechanical anchor product line in The Home Depot stores, our increased market share and profitability in Europe and our market share gains in both truss and concrete product offerings."

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant:
News

Home improvement retailer launches VR-based training

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy
Lowe’s is expanding its commitment to virtual reality — this time, internally.
 
Tapping the VR and AR expertise of its Lowe’s Innovation Labs division, the home improvement giant has launched a new VR-based training program. Called Holoroom How To: Red Vest, the platform is designed to teach associates how to use specific in-store equipment through virtual reality.
 
The program was designed on the success of Holoroom How To, an experience that gave customers confidence to begin their next home improvement project. This next phase of virtual learning gives employees the knowledge they need to help better serve customers, according to a blog entry on the company’s website.
 
The program, which is focused on the window department, delivers greater project knowledge, which provides more motivation and increased confidence to help address customer’s window fashion needs. The platform projects a life-like simulation that teaches associates every step of the process as they advance through the module. Associates learn from potential mistakes without waste of materials or dissatisfied customers, the blog explained.
 
The program launched in November 2017, in 10 markets nationwide, including Tampa, Philadelphia and Knoxville. More than 400 associates have tested the experience, and more than 90% have reported virtual reality training would help them to better serve our customers, according to Lowe’s.
 
“We’ve done more work in AR and VR than pretty much any other retailer,” Josh Shabtai, director, labs productions and operations, Lowe’s, said in the blog’s video. “One thing we learned is that VR is amazon for education. We’re using the power of VR to train employees and make what could be a cumbersome process more fun.”
 
Other processes that are improving the productivity of the workforce includes the company’s “LoweBot.” Resembling a kiosk on wheels, this sleek robot can take over inventory management processes to free up associates to spend more time with customers. It can also help pinpoint available merchandise — and escort customers to the correct aisle.
 
Lowe’s is also using a soft robotics-based exosuit that can assist associates with the physical demands of their job — and perform tasks more safely, such as reducing fatigue of repetitive motions.
keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which of the following hardware business trends is the most significant: