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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 Feb. 4, 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: The decline in buying throughout the distribution channel telegraphed back to SPF mills, forcing lower prices to varying degrees. Eastern producers were slightly more aggressive with discounts than their western counterparts. Southern Pine lumber mills entered the market offering double-digit discounts on most items early and had little success at selling much of their production at the lower levels. Coastal species lumber producers approached the market in a more aggressive manner but struggled to sell at whatever price. Quotes were lowered throughout the week, and mills listened to offers below those levels. Pulling any response from potential Inland species lumber buyers was, according to several sources, virtually impossible. As a result, some discounting did occur, primarily in Hem-Fir. Fir-Larch was more stable but not more active, with no general discounting being reported. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr remains unchanged in price. The price of #2&Btr Shop is still moving up moderately, adding $5 to last week’s levels. Selects have not moved in some weeks as regards pricing, but this week one manager did confirm modest discounts for Select boards. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr is now $1,080 to $1,100, with the majority of wood pushing that $1,100 mark. Shop is unchanged in price and very firm. Idaho White Pine is virtually a nonentity in the marketplace, since suppliers have none to offer. Eastern White Pine is on hold, as both mills and their customers wait for the weather to moderate. Western Red Cedar producers voiced some concerns over losing business because of weather, but were more inclined to envision some degree of pent-up demand.
PANELS: Western Fir plywood production is being stacked and sold at discounts when too much of a buildup occurs. Those discounts were enough to force some CDX prices down $5 to $10, despite producers’ attempts to dig in their heels. Southern Pine plywood producers lowered rated sheathing quotes $10 to $20 and received a few orders for their efforts. Deeper discounts were used to sell blocks before quotes were again raised moderately. The continuing wave of winter storms has had a harsh impact on OSB markets. Interest in buying is limited to occasional hole filling among the few who are purchasing. Prices are inconsistent and have no consensus. The lack of definable direction grips the Canadian plywood market. In light of the absence of demand or any offerings to mills of any volume, the C$304 remains. Demand for particleboard in both the South and the West has been superior to the demand for MDF so far this year.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report
Home Depot to close Louisiana store
Home Depot will close a store in Gentilly, La., according to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Three other underperforming locations — in Holland, Mich., and Rocky Mount and Greenville, N.C. — have also begun liquidation sales, as reported earlier this week in Home Channel News.
A company spokesman told the newspaper that the Atlanta retailer has no plans to close any other units at this time.
Unemployment rate falls to 9.0%
The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment rose in manufacturing and in retail trade but was down in construction and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in most other major industries changed little over the month, according to Friday’s report.