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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. 26, 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: After a lackluster beginning, sales activity improved in the SPF lumber market. Strong 2×4 sales highlighted the market, forcing some mill order files for that item out into the week of Nov. 19. Buyers continued to cover needs, prompting Southern Pine lumber producers to more aggressively raise prices. Buyers were forced to turn to wholesalers and distribution to cover prompt needs. Truss manufacturers were active. Enough volumes were sold at Coastal species lumber mills to maintain price levels or push them higher. Recent shipments to China have helped reduce supplies in domestic markets. Wide width dry Douglas Fir and Hem-Fir prices held. The Inland species lumber market continued its recovery, as mill order files extended and mill inventories were cleaned up. Wholesalers sold off their previous purchases with profit and stepped back in to replace them. Eastern White Pine producers concentrated on maintaining or extending order files rather than pushing prices up and shutting off sales. The market for ESLP boards remained on the quiet side, but prices remained firm. A limited selection of Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons and some contractual sales have helped Inland producers keep price levels for boards firm. Activity for Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber continued to move at a snail’s pace. Only #3 and P99 seemed to have a following. Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop sales were steady, and limited supplies kept prices firm. Producers were able to sell to markets outside the United States that brought a better return to the mill. Western Red Cedar market mavens continued to look more toward 2013, gearing up for what they hope will be more improvement on top of what occurred this year. Mills and distributors continued to wait on a large share of home center business yet to be allocated.

Panels: Producers are clearly still in control of the OSB markets. With order files extending closer to Thanksgiving, talk of holiday shutdowns increased. All regions showed strength and prices continued to climb. The most common description of the Southern Pine plywood market among producers was "decent." Volumes sold were not as strong as the week prior, leaving order files in the week of Nov. 5. Overall, prices were flat. Order files at Western Fir plywood mills, extending into Nov. 5 early in the week, remained there. Follow through from the prior week’s bounce was limited. Some producers indicated more inquiry and activity at the end of the week. The Canadian plywood market appears to have reached modest level of firmness for the time being. Producers report varying levels of success at holding price levels. The general feel in the marketplace was one of steadiness in both MDF and particleboard. A few mills noted a slight increase in particleboard sales volumes.

For more on RISI, click here.

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Newell Rubbermaid announces new executive appointments

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In addition to an extensive structural makeover, dubbed "Project Renewal,"  Newell Rubbermaid president and CEO Mike Polk announced a new leadership team that includes outside appointments to several executive positions.

Among these new appointments is Joe Cavaliere, former SVP customer development for Unilever, who will serve as chief customer officer at Newell Rubbermaid. In this new role, Cavaliere will help globalize the company’s customer development organization, and expand customer partnerships and collaborations around the world. Among his 29 years of experience, Cavaliere helped catapult Unilever to a top 5 ranking in the consumer good industry during his nine-year career at the company.

Richard Davies — also formerly of Unilever, as head of global insights — will join Newell Rubbermaid as chief marketing & insights officer. Davies brings more than 30 years of marketing, insights and brand strategy experience to the new position. 

Mark Tarchetti, former head of global corporate strategy at Unilever, will join Newell Rubbermaid in January as chief development officer, leading the new development organization. Tarchetti founded international consulting firm Tarchetti & Co and has been supporting the development of Newell Rubbermaid’s new business strategy over the last year. 

"The structural and leadership changes we are announcing today are bold steps that are critical to unlocking our full growth potential," Polk said.

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Walmart focused on a more sustainable supply chain

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Speaking at an event in Beijing, Walmart president and CEO, Mike Duke, outlined Walmart’s plans to create a more sustainable global supply chain.

"Today I’m proud to announce a series of steps and commitments that will make Walmart’s supply chain, in the United States, here in China, and around the world, more sustainable," said Mike Duke, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "The impact of these commitments will be global and make a difference with products sold around the globe." 

The additional initiatives announced at today’s event will build on the broader sustainability goals Walmart set at the China Sustainability Summit in 2008. The commitments outlined today include: 

• By the end of 2017, Walmart will buy 70% of the goods it sells in U.S. stores and in U.S. Sam’s Clubs only from suppliers in the United States, China and around the world who use the the retailer’s sustainability index to evaluate and share the sustainability of their products. This change will involve suppliers who produce goods in categories where the Index is available.

• Beginning in 2013, Walmart will use the sustainability index to influence the design of its U.S. private brand products.

• Walmart will change the way its key global sourcing merchants are evaluated so that sustainability becomes an even more important part of buyers’ day-to-day jobs. Beginning in 2013, these buyers will join key buyers in Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club who already have specific sustainability objectives on their annual evaluations. 

• The Walmart Foundation will grant $2 million to fund The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) and assist in its efforts in launching TSC in China. TSC is an independent research organization. Using the Walmart Foundation grant, TSC China will engage industries, universities and other experts to form a global network of leaders improving sustainability in consumer goods, and will provide tools and resources to help suppliers become more sustainable and competitive. Walmart will use the results of TSC’s independent work to refine its Sustainability Index for use in China.

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