RISI Crow’s Market Recap for April 6
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 6, 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.
As the week progressed, more SPF buyers threw in the towel after trying to hold out for lower prices. Demand picked up at midweek and as early as Tuesday. Much of the buying was focused on 2×4, equating to more subdued price increases for other dimensions.
- Southern Pine prices were mixed, but losses continued to outnumber gains in the key upper grades. Buyers, sensing the potential for more downside price moves, held off purchasing some items. Demand for other items improved, and cutbacks in production for low priced items helped boost pricing.
- The downside to Coastal species pricing was not as severe as in prior weeks, but softness remained, particularly in dry Doug Fir. Producers noted that dry was not as active as green Doug Fir, which was reflected in prices of the two products.
- The pace and demand for Inland lumber products indicate that this is a rebuilding market. Hem-Fir is still the leader among Inland products, but Fir-Larch has picked up well.
- After a reduction in available supplies the prior week, SPF stud demand remained good and prices continued to strengthen. Moderate to up-limit gains in futures throughout much of the week prodded more buyers to participate. Western US species were weaker.
- Radiata Pine was being re-examined by some producers in New Zealand, based on decisions being made regarding the local New Zealand market.
- Price activity in Ponderosa Pine industrials varied from producer to producer regarding Shop, but industry consensus showed no major changes in either 5/4 or 6/4 Mldg&Btr. In boards Ponderosa Pine Selects have been stable, but recent activity in Commons have them attempting to regain stronger levels.
- New availability of Idaho White Pine changed the prices of that species, some items elevating while others slumped a bit.
- Additional mill offerings of ESLP are forthcoming.
- As markets headed into April, a month where Western Red Cedar traders expect an uptick in sales activity, the pace of sales was relatively steady and slower than in 2017.
OSB markets twisted in the wind this week, slowed by pervasive late winter weather and a reluctance among buyers to take on volume at current prices. Sources held varied opinions as to whether there is downside or upside.
- Southern Pine plywood sales again failed to keep up with production. Consequently, producers were forced to lower quotes to compete in different regions of the country. Fortunately for producers, a fair amount of liquidity existed in the form of railcar demand.
- Western Fir sheathing sales were mostly lackluster, lending to a mostly flat to moderately downward pricing. Mills did what they could to maintain some semblance of strength in the market. Producers came off prices of those items where lead times eroded.
- Canadian plywood markets were widely described as quiet this week, though some sources noted “spotty” activity. Wintry weather held back most enthusiasm and quelled purchasing. Buyers chased wood, and some volumes ordered in February had yet to arrive.
- Sales improved for some particleboard and MDF producers. MDF sales were solid in the West and East regions. Particleboard sales activity in the West generally lagged that in the East.
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