RISI Crow’s Market Recap for May 11
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 11, 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.
Limited mill offerings of SPF at both eastern and western Canadian mills and eager demand kept upward pressure on #2&Btr lumber prices. Gains remained most prevalent in 2×4, with any offerings quickly bought up.
- Southern Pine producers ramped up prices aggressively while seeing buyers willing to participate at sharply higher levels. High prices, following 4-5 weeks of escalation, prompted mills that typically extend lead times no longer than two weeks go out to three.
- Strong demand and extended order files aided upward price pressure in Coastal species. Buyers continued to purchase at a fevered pace, those sales aided by limited volumes of lumber still being offered at Canadian mills. Traders reported significant volumes of US produced Doug Fir moving into areas that typically purchase SPF.
- Inland lumber markets continued the strong performance of the last several weeks. Led by Hem-Fir, Inland species advanced in both pace and price intensity throughout the week. Narrows were especially strong in Hem-Fir.
- Tight stud supplies and order files stretching into June kept prices moving higher. Limited availability prompted buyers to look high and low for coverage, allowing mills to sell readily whatever offerings they came up with.
- Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber prices continued to hold steady. Shop has fluctuated slightly over the past year, but neither 5/4 nor 6/4 has shown strong vigor. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons have become somewhat sluggish. Although Selects remain stable, Commons showed definite tendencies to sag in pricing. Most significant in this respect was the #2 Common, which lagged in both pace and price.
- Some softening was also reported in the thinly produced ESLP 4/4 Commons, and other pine species have found markets to be weaker than anticipated.
- Trading in the Western Red Cedar market remained steady. Buyers purchased fill-in volumes where necessary. Some lead times extended well into June.
OSB activity picked up and rolled this week as a little panic set in among those trying to meet a strengthening spring buy. Buyers cautiously avoided long positions with already high prices gaining more ground. Transportation issues improved slightly in Canada but were sticky in the US South.
- Southern Pine plywood producers managed to extend order files while raising prices, evidence of the market’s strength. A wide range of buyers participated even as most mill lead times extended into the week of June 4.
- Western Fir plywood buyers continued to purchase at a decent pace but not in the same numbers as the prior week. Sheathing prices remained solid. Producers bumped quotes in modest increments and managed to sell at moderately higher levels by Friday.
- Canadian plywood activity slowly picked up strength this week. Some early week discounts helped prod the market. Order files moved out and the market firmed, though some mills are keeping an ear open for firm volume offers. Pricing was sideways from last Friday’s Crow’s net ($614/msf, Toronto, 3/8” basis).
- Trends in both particleboard and MDF remained in place. MDF producers often described active markets in which mill order files remained strong. Particleboard sales remained steady, although some excess volumes continued to emerge in that market.
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