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RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Southern Pine trading continued to gather moderate momentum, lending to gradually more price appreciation as the week progressed.

BY HBSDealer Staff

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: SPF pricing edged incrementally higher throughout the week, as mills experienced solid sales activity. Buyers displayed a little more urgency as mill order files moved into mid-February. Key market drivers, according to sources, were low inventories in the field and production curtailments. Southern Pine trading continued to gather moderate momentum, lending to gradually more price appreciation as the week progressed. A lack of large log availability generated upward pressure on wide-width prices. Demand for dry Coastal species remained strong while green Doug Fir activity improved. After heavy rains disrupted sales in California the week prior, those buyers entered the market in greater numbers. Inland lumber trading was less intense than the previous two weeks, but prices continued to show an upward bias. Mills sold strong stud volumes, enabling them to continue pushing prices higher. Much of the demand centered around 9’ and 10 again, but some 8’ prices managed to gain $5. With the softening of demand from China for Radiata Pine, that species has become more available. Despite that, prices have held their levels unchanged. Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber remained generally consistent in price levels, except for P99, which discounted in both 5/4 and 6/4. Ponderosa Pine Selects remained quietly stable while #3 California Commons and #4 Commons industry-wide showed slowing and some softer prices. While Western Red Cedar producers continued to see a few more buyers step in to the market to cover spring needs, trading lacked any strong momentum.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Jan. 25, 2019.

Western: regional species perimeter foundation
Southern: regional species slab construction

Panels: The disposition of the OSB market was upbeat this week, as curtailments in the system encouraged buyers to come to the table while prices were still bottomed out. Southern Pine plywood producers reported “good” sales, managing to sell the week’s production. Enough demand in some corners prompted producers to nudge rated sheathing quotes a little higher. After a sluggish start to the week, following a Monday holiday, market activity in Western Fir plywood improved Wednesday and Thursday. This allowed producers to maintain rated sheathing quotes. Canadian plywood activity was light at the mill level this week, with long order files causing some hesitation among buyers. Pricing was sideways Particleboard and MDF markets remained lackluster, although several producers reported somewhat “steady business.” As in lumber and other panel markets, yards filled in immediate composite panel needs and little more.

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