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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. 21, 2012
*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: In both eastern and western Canada, SPF producers were forced to lower quotes to remain somewhere near market levels. Producers in the East seemed more aggressive, while producers in the West lowered quotes more modestly and then accepted counters in some instances. Weak pricing persisted in the Southern Pine lumber market. Buyers matched purchases with sales volumes in an effort to lower inventory costs. Treaters remained less active, many trying to draw inventories down prior to their year end. Coastal species lumber producers entered the market more aggressively, seeking to move off larger volumes of stock. Mills were able to sell enough volumes to establish price floors and even raise quotes on a few items, depending on the producer. The market for Inland species lumber remained weak. As stock on the ground was cleaned up, producers were less likely to entertain counters, choosing instead to sit the market out for the time being. Eastern White Pine order files improved and mills were out close to 2 weeks on shipments. Sales activity for ESLP boards was unchanged. Producers reported the market was steady and firm. A slight improvement in the Ponderosa Pine board market gave producers a glimmer of hope. Sales of #2, particularly 1×6, were reportedly more active, and producers were able to bump prices higher. Producers are able to sell Ponderosa Pine 5/4 and 6/4 Mldg&Btr at quoted levels, but #2 Shop remained a struggle to move. Announced reductions in availability during the next few months helped keep Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr prices firm and unchanged from last week’s levels. Western Red Cedar buyers plugged inventory holes with an eye toward the upcoming winter months, but struggled at times to find the right mix. Mill order files stretched from the first week of October out into mid October.
Panels: The overall tone in OSB markets was one of light sales and vulnerable prices. Depending on the region, discounts ranged from $5-20. The determining factor often was mill order files. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market for rated sheathing was slow, eroding mill order files and pushing prices lower. Buyers perceived an opportunity for deals the week of 9/24. Mill lead times were in the week of October 1 or sooner. Western Fir plywood mills were willing to accept discounts of $20-25 for CDX items, but lower prices did not draw many more buyers into the market. Sanded panel and underlayment prices were firm. Several factors have placed downward influence on Canadian plywood markets. Sales were very light at major mills, as buyers turned to other producers who could ship sooner and discounted to get the business. Particleboard sales and prices remained flat. Brisk MDF sales continued to limit availability and influence very solid price levels.
Call for entries announced for 2013 NAHBGreen Awards
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is now accepting submissions for its 2013 NAHBGreen Awards. Each year, NAHB recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for excellence in residential green design and construction practices and for green building program and advocacy efforts.
This year, the award winners will be revealed to an even wider audience than in past years, with the awards being announced on Jan. 23 in conjunction with the 2013 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
"The NAHBGreen Awards showcase the best and most innovative work in green," said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "This is an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized for their hard work."
The awards are open to both NAHB members and non-NAHB members. To be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2012.
Categories include Project of the Year-Single Family, Project of the Year-Multifamily, Project of the Year-Remodel, Project of the Year-Site Development and Advocate of the Year.
All homes and developments must be scored to the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard, to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by using the online Green Scoring Tool at nahbgreen.org.
All entries must be received by Oct. 18, 2012. Application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.
Home Depot partners with 360Buy.com
Home Depot has reached an agreement with 360Buy.com, one of China’s biggest Internet retailers, to launch its own Chinese e-commerce sales effort, according to an article in the Morning Whistle.
The Atlanta retailer announced on Sept. 13 that it will close its seven remaining big-box stores in China in order to focus on specialty stores and online offerings in that market. The company said it was in the beginning stages of developing relationships with several of China’s leading e-commerce websites, but it did not name which ones.
But Carol Tome, Home Depot’s CFO, told the Reuters Retail and Consumer Summit that Home Depot has already started selling goods on 360buy.com in China and is looking for opportunities to partner with other e-commerce sites.
Home Depot and 360Buy.com had been working together for about 10 days, Tome said on Sept. 14. Home Depot is also in discussions with Alibaba Group’s Tmall.com, a competitor of 360Buy.com, she reported.
According to the agreement so far, 360Buy.com will provide Home Depot with a platform to open its online stores, according to the Morning Whistle.