RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Another week of widespread poor weather kept OSB markets quiet.


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: Several SPF producers lowered quotes again to maintain fluidity while others held doggedly to levels, backed by lead times extending into mid- to late March. A lack of transportation, particularly railcars, buoyed those unwavering order files and quotes. Southern Pine production outpaced demand by a significant amount, generating more availability at mills. Buyers sensed greater downside risk after producers began to discount most #2 items more aggressively. Weather was a chief concern among traders. Coastal species lumber producers experienced a quiet sales week. Much of the recent slowing is due to weather prohibiting yards from shipping to job sites. Inland lumber markets have been depicted as “flat” for the better part of two weeks. Feelers from potential buyers resulted in sporadic order placement and some deterioration of mill order files. Limited stud demand again placed downward pressure on prices. Western SPF pricing held up best, as those producers faced mounting railcar shortages. The industrial market is in a state of flux, as increased supplies of Radiata pine have begun to enter this market, as a result of global shifts, especially regarding China’s weakening economy. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons have been in a flat and unenergetic market for some time. The #4 Common remains soft, and some #3 items are weak, especially 1×8. Western Red Cedar traders reported a narrow mix of activity, none of it strong but none of it slow, either. Buyers continued to manage their inventories closely.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 1, 2019.

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


Panels: Another week of widespread poor weather kept OSB markets quiet. Quiet curtailments among major producers kept big cracks from forming as buyers wait for snows to melt or rains to stop. The Southern Pine plywood market garnered enough activity to keep mill lead times extended at least a couple of weeks and mild upward pressure on pricing. Yards purchased steady but moderate volumes. Western Fir plywood sales remained dull. Buyers purchased immediate needs in conservative volumes, often limited by weather conditions in consuming regions. It was yet another slow week for Canadian plywood with weather still the driving factor. Consensus was still divided as to who, exactly, is in the driver’s seat. Particleboard and MDF producers perceived slower sales due to heavy precipitation levels and cold. Some composite panel mills in the West lost production for a time this week due to weather.


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