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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Oct. 21, 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: Trading in the SPF lumber market was stagnant, but prices in many instances maintained previous levels. A significant gap between the November futures contract and cash market price added some uncertainty to the market. Southern Pine lumber producers looked to sell production with more urgency, but buyers were unwilling to purchase large volumes. Instead, buyers filled in holes with the deals presented to them. As a result of sluggish demand, Coastal species lumber prices were susceptible to negotiation, leading to several downward price moves. Green Doug Fir pricing, particularly in narrow widths, was weak. Inland lumber producers reported an “on and off” market. Activity early in the week was better than later. Hem-Fir producers that needed to move wood were open to counters, but only if it fit them. The market for Ponderosa Pine boards had a quiet feel to it, probably due to the fact that many of the players were away from their desks. The sellers in their offices reported mostly firm prices, although the volume was light. Eastern White Pine board producers reported Industrial moved well, and Standard and Premium experienced steady sales. Select were on the soft side and the price of wides came off. In Mld&Btr and Shop grades, activity was sluggish in Ponderosa and Radiata Pine, but prices were unchanged. The mass exodus of Western Red Cedar traders heading to Las Vegas and the NAWLA Traders Market began Wednesday. This meant a light week for transactions, particularly from Wednesday through Friday.

Panels: A quiet and uneventful week was reported for OSB markets in most regions. A few discounts early in the week were reported in the Southwest but were no longer available at week’s end. A similar story was told for far West markets. Demand for Southern Pine plywood absorbed about one-half the weekly production at some mills, indicating a slow market. Order files by week’s end were into the week of Oct. 31, with volumes of rated sheathing available for quicker shipment. Prices in the Western Fir plywood market peeled back as a result of limited demand and a need among producers to keep up with production. Mills often dropped quotes early and negotiated off those levels for the remainder of the week. Although the Canadian plywood market has been in a quiet but steady pattern, order files have enabled some producers to maintain price levels, and in some instances, move prices up. Changes in overall demand for particleboard and MDF in specific regions were mixed, with mills generally selling about the same volumes as they had earlier in October.

For more on RISI, click here.

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CG&P consolidates supply chain management

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Central Garden & Pet has announced the promotion of Paul Hibbert to senior VP supply chain. Hibbert will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s consolidated supply chain operations, including manufacturing, warehousing, procurement, inventory management and distribution.  He reports to Gus Halas, president and CEO of Central Operating Companies.

“To better serve our customers and leverage our resources and expertise, we have consolidated our supply chain resources into one organization supporting both our garden and pet operations with Paul at the helm,” said Halas in a prepared announcement. “Paul’s experience and leadership uniquely qualifies him for this role as we focus on delivering a quality customer experience and delivering savings and synergies throughout Central’s supply chain operation."

A supply chain veteran with more than 23 years of experience, Hibbert has been with Central Garden & Pet for two years. He previously held senior level positions with supply chain responsibilities at Spectrum Brands Holdings and Bio-Lab Inc. 

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PPG records Q3 income, sales increases

BY HBSDealer Staff

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries posted third-quarter net income of $311 million, up 18.7% from $262 million in the third quarter of 2010. Net sales for the quarter totaled $3.8 billion, up 8.6% from $3.5 billion in the prior-year period.

“This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which we eclipsed our prior quarterly earnings record,” said Charles Bunch, PPG chairman and CEO. “This consistent improvement in performance, especially in light of today’s economic backdrop, demonstrates the value of our management’s aggressive focus on operations and the continuing benefit of the structural changes that we have made to the company the past few years, including lowering our cost base and expanding in emerging regions. In addition, these results reflect the continuing benefits of our disciplined deployment of our strong cash position.”

According to Bunch, all 13 PPG businesses employed higher pricing this quarter to counter higher input costs. “PPG’s overall volumes were flat year-over-year,” he said. “Demand in most markets in North America was up modestly and fairly consistent with the prior quarter’s growth rate. Continued volume gains in emerging regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America offset lower demand in Europe, which was driven principally by the company’s consumer-oriented businesses.”

Looking ahead, Bunch is expecting normal “seasonal fourth-quarter patterns” and said the company will implement additional price increases in a number of businesses.

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