Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 25, 2016.
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: Producers reported a slower pace to the SPF market than the end of the week prior, when buyers purchased significant volumes. Still, mills maintained order files extended in some instances out to mid-December. Buyers continued to purchase a variety of Southern Pine lumber items, keeping upward pressure on prices. Single-digit increases were common, although scattered $10 increases, particularly in the Central zone, were also evident. Coastal species mills reported a slower pace but still managed to keep prices at, near or above last week’s levels. Western yards continued to sell at a solid pace and replenished accordingly. “A preholiday week” means quiet trading, scanty sales, but usually a good call-to-sales ratio. That was the reported case among Inland lumber producers, with price changes either very modest or non-existent for either Hem-Fir or Fir-Larch. After last week’s run on studs, buyers often retreated to the sidelines. Prices were sturdy due primarily to lead times at mills. “We’re in good shape,” said a producer. Mills reported a significantly slower pace beginning Tuesday afternoon. Ponderosa Pine 5/4 #2 Shop shows little buyer interest. Because of low production volumes, 6/4 “Is pretty tight in all items.” Ponderosa 5/4 Mldg&Btr continues to discount, but 6/4 is tight and rising in price. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons continue to ride very solidly on previous price levels, with the exception of low grades. The most apparent gains have been made in #4 Common, as producers continue to move price levels upward. Buyers purchased moderate Western Red Cedar volumes in most instances, although significant volumes were bought for fourth quarter deliveries over the past couple of weeks. PTS buys covering first quarter needs also took place. Snow fell – in some cases heavily – in northern regions of the US.
Panels: OSB activity slowed this week after last week’s housing starts and subsequent buying surge. While the upcoming holiday further dampened business, prices gained $2-12 across most regions. Most mill order files are out to the week of December 12. A few upward price adjustments were sprinkled in the flat yet mostly firm Southern Pine plywood market. Producers often reported order files extending into the week of December 5, with some sales out into Dec. 12. Demand for thick rated sheathing panels stood out. Western Fir plywood mills experienced fair demand throughout the week and boasted order files often into the week of December 5. Some modest and scattered availability for Nov. 28 existed, while some lead times stretched into Dec. 19. Extended lead times generated defensive mill quotes. Canadian plywood sources described the current market as firm, with pricing unchanged from Friday’s Crow’s net level. With most order files into the week of December 19, Christmas deliveries are seen as problematic. Some wood is still available for Dec. 12. Recent trends remained in place in both particleboard and MDF markets. Particleboard discounts remained in play, although other producers reported order files of one to two weeks. Reported pricing for both particleboard and MDF held.
Holiday weekend recap: Purchases up, but average spending declines 3.5%
Average spending per person over Thanksgiving weekend totaled $289.19, down from $299.60 last year, according to a survey conducted by National Retail Federation.
The survey found that 154 million people made purchases over the extended holiday weekend, up from 151 million a year ago. When it comes to where consumers shopped, 44% went online and 40% shopped in store. The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up 1.3% from last year to 74%, followed by Saturday (49%), Thanksgiving (36%) and Sunday (34%). Of those that shopped in store, 75% shopped on Black Friday, up 3.4% from last year, 40% on Saturday, 35% on Thanksgiving and 17% on Sunday.
The survey found that 29% of shoppers headed out after 10 a.m. on Black Friday, up from 24% last year. Less than 15% of consumers arrived to the stores by 6 a.m. or earlier on Black Friday.
Early Thanksgiving Day in-store shopping dropped by 19% with only 7% of consumers heading to stores before 5 p.m. — while shopping that day itself was up 1%.
The survey also found that only 9% of consumers have finished their holiday shopping, down from 11% last year. And 23% have yet to make any dents to their lists, up from 19% last year.
The survey found that of those that shopped in store, 51% shopped at department stores, 34% at discount stores, 32% at electronics stores, 28% at clothing or accessories stores and 25% at grocery/supermarket stores.
According to the survey, 56% of smartphone owners and 53% of tablet owners used their devices to assist with weekend shopping activities.
According to research by Adobe Digital Insights, online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday were $5.27 billion, up 18% from a year earlier and higher than its estimate of $5.05 billion.