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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Sept. 30, 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: Prices in the SPF market were weak in both the East and West, as mills tried to find levels in which to bolster eroded order files. Early on, mill quotes dropped to those levels traded the week prior at the secondary level, and losses in futures helped generate lower quotes as the week progressed. Southern Pine lumber mills raised quotes $5 to $15 and had some measure of success at the new levels, but volumes sold were notably less than the few weeks prior. In Coastal species, moderate month-end discounting was used to move both dry and green volumes. Wide widths remained generally weaker than narrows. The market for Inland lumber was quiet. Some buyers sat on the sidelines waiting for a bargain to come along. Even then, need was the determining factor in making the purchase decision. Ponderosa Pine board producers reported another quiet but steady week of activity. Sterling grade led the way in Idaho White Pine. Eastern White Pine prices remained unchanged. Moulding and Shop prices reflected some softness in a few items, but for the most part, the market was stable. The market for imported FJ moulding was quiet. Big-box stores remained in talks and placed orders with Western Red Cedar suppliers for deliveries during the first quarter of next year. As a result, producers are getting an idea of the volumes they will be called on to produce in the coming months to supply big-box stores.
Panels: Although OSB prices are relatively firm, it is due to supply side controls rather than demand. The bulk of business this week was in the form of contract wood and not cash-market purchases. Demand for Southern Pine rated sheathing at the mill level was quiet. Volumes still available at the wholesale level were offered at prices below replacement costs, attracting those buyers needing to make purchases. Western Fir plywood buyers were limited in their needs and somewhat leery of prices hovering either near or at 2011 highs. This generated a slower sales pace in the market, even though producers noted that buyers in the West were still active. Canadian plywood producers with order files out three weeks or more reported sales at considerably higher price levels than those producers with shorter order files. Particleboard and MDF sales throughout the distribution pipeline were described as "not any worse" and "could be better." The September increase in sales that mills and yards were hoping for did not materialize.
ECi Software unveils CXintelligence product
Fort Worth, Texas-based eCommerce Industries, Inc. (ECi) introduced CXintelligence, a new on-demand customer intelligence solution from ECi Acsellerate.
CXi is designed to help independent businesses effectively compete and win new accounts by allowing specific end users to access their purchase information through interactive dashboards and detailed reports.
“The competitive landscape is evolving, and the market now requires access to innovative solutions in order to take business to the next level,” said Ron Books, president and CEO of ECi. “ECi’s goal is to provide technology that gives independents a clear competitive advantage, and CXi will do just that.”
The on-demand nature of the application also increases efficiency, as staff members will not spend time generating customer reports.
Southern Casual Living buys patio umbrella business
Atlanta-based Southern Casual Living bought the patio umbrella division of Southern Sales & Marketing.
"We see the umbrella market moving to more of a China ‘factory direct’ business model, so I sold this division," said Ken Harbaugh, majority shareholder of Southern Sales. " Some of the people moving over to the new company have been longtime associates with our company, and I wish them all the best. They know that I am available to help them at any time.”
Bill Browne, former VP sales for Southern Sales & Marketing Group, has been named president of Southern Casual Living, and Jason Bliss, former national account manager with Southern Sales, will serve as VP. Several other employees of Southern Sales & Marketing are making the move as well.
Jay Winkler has been appointed national account manager, Mary Mayberry has been appointed customer service manager, and Ross Boone will be the senior designer.
Browne said: “Southern Casual Living’s main concentration will be patio umbrellas. Our immediate focus will be quality control, shipping on time and complete for the 2012 season, while at the same time focusing our team on design and new product development for the 2013 season.”