RISI Crow’s Market Recap for Aug. 3
Pricing in SPF remained sloppy; meanwhile, OSB markets saw another week of plummeting prices.
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Aug. 3, 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.
Pricing in SPF remained sloppy. Buyers frequently described the market as “in disarray.” Producers worked the phones, trying to secure enough orders to load allocated railcars. In some cases, railcar availability remained limited. Sharp declines in futures Wednesday and Thursday added another degree of caution to the market, sending buyers to the sidelines.
- Southern Pine prices continued their trend downward. Buyers maintained the same approach to the market, filling in inventory needs with prompt shipping volumes at sizable discounts. Negotiated deals were commonplace, as mills worked to maintain liquidity.
- Buyers continued to stay out of the Coastal species fray whenever possible. Extensive market weakness and urgency among producers to sell prompted low offers from buyers needing to fill in inventory holes. Sales levels ranged widely across a number of items.
- The price pause two weeks ago for Inland lumber was merely a prelude to further significant price declines. Price adjustments of up to $40 occurred in #2&Btr lumber.
- Stud pricing sagged, with many prices declining $30 and more. Mills remained aggressive, calling on customers and negotiating deals. A range of sales prices persisted, depending largely how urgently a mill needed to move product.
- Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr and Shop continued to show signs of little price change, although the demand for industrial lumber has not tailed off. Mouldings began to increase in price two weeks ago, so speculation among major users is that lumber might follow. Pine Selects and Commons have picked up their pace slightly, but mills have expressed some frustration with being unable to supply customer requests. Most potential buyers were looking for highly specified tallies, but mills were not generating the material to fill those.
- Western Red Cedar sales were steady, although some producers blamed a lackluster pace on seasonal influences. Supplies of most products were not scarce enough to warrant buyers purchasing volumes for shipment in September. Timbers were an exception.
OSB markets saw another week of plummeting prices, but activity picked up as buyers perceived a bottom may be close. Deals were made to move order files out, as mills were open to counters. By the end of the week, producers began firming quotes.
- After a slow start, Southern Pine plywood producers experienced an increase in sales activity at midweek. Prices continued to grind lower, but producers managed to bolster order files. Despite the rise in activity among buyers, traders perceived price floors were not yet established.
- The Western Fir plywood market began like most weeks over the past couple of months – with limited energy. That changed in the middle of the week as more buyers stepped in to address inventory needs. Buyers managed to replenish CDX needs often $15-20 below the prior week’s levels.
- Activity picked up this week in Canadian plywood, as pricing reached a level that triggered some buying and speculation that a trading level may have been reached. Discounted volumes were reported, which enabled mills to move order files out.
- MDF and particleboard producers reported “steady” sales activity. Buyers continued to line up for reasonably strong volumes of both types of panels. Distributors replenished at a good rate.
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