Market Recap — March 9, 2018

Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index for March 9, 2018

BY HBSDealer Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 9, 2018.

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.


Secondaries approached the SPF market with greater urgency, trying to sell off positions well below replacement costs. With buyers exhibiting little interest in purchasing and awaiting shipment of previously purchased orders, sales were difficult. Futures’ steep discount to cash added to buyers’ high degree of discretion.

  • Flat to moderately higher pricing was found across most Southern Pine dimension lumber items. The one clear exception was 2×10. Weather interruption was most common in the East zone. The inability of Canadian mills to ship on time was credited for relatively strong 2×4 and 2×6 sales.
  • Greater numbers of buyers chose to stay out of the Coastal species market after seeing either greater weakness or the start of softer pricing. Producers reported quiet phone activity and sold light volumes at discounted levels. Wholesalers with positions tried to get out ahead of soft mill prices.
  • The stagnancy that has gripped the Inland lumber scene deepened a bit this week, one source saying that his company was “taking selective discounts.” Weather and transport issues were part of the slowing, but buyers sensed the possibility for some market pull back, and they are buying lightly.
  • Stud prices lost a measure of strength as buyers stepped away from purchasing. Wholesalers tried to sell while the pace slowed, and mills sought sales more aggressively.
  • Radiata Pine was reported stable in price, but US importers report their inability to obtain enough volume for their needs.
  • Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop remained solidly priced. The spring breakup is in process, but it will be at least two to three weeks before most western board producers will have anything resembling normal volumes of Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons to offer. Prices of Selects are very solid.
  • Western Red Cedar mills reported good sales activity. Order files remained out into late March and well into April in several instances. Higher quotes for timbers circulated.


A combination of sloppy weather and pricing perceived as peaked slowed OSB markets at mill and dealer levels this week. Two-tiered activity continued, especially in the Southeast and Southwest. Wholesalers tried to move volumes below mill pricing.

  • Most Southern Pine plywood producers reported a measured pace to sales activity. Buyers perceived some fringe weakness, as some producers looked more urgently for buyers and came up with quicker shipping volumes than expected. The whiff of potential softness further encouraged buyers to stay out of the market when possible.
  • Lackluster sales activity resided in the Western Fir plywood market throughout much of the week. Reports of greater inquiry in the week’s latter half were spotty. While producers tended to lean on order files to maintain price levels, significant volumes of quicker shipping panels were sold to extend order files.
  • Canadian plywood took a breather with mill level sales mostly slow – though one reported offerings quickly snapped up. Yard activity was steady and phones busy with buyers tracking shipments. A slight improvement in railcar availability was noted.
  • Particleboard and MDF producers reported minimal changes from the prior week. So far, buyers purchasing according to their demand levels are not loading up with significantly greater volumes this year.

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