RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Southern Pine production continued to outpace sales activity, leaving most #2 prices vulnerable to discounts.


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: After a sluggish beginning to the week, SPF trading activity improved notably Thursday after some improvement Wednesday. Strong gains in futures both Wednesday and Thursday contributed to expanded buyer participation in the cash market. Southern Pine production continued to outpace sales activity, leaving most #2 prices vulnerable to discounts. Mills approached the market more aggressively, generating a range of prices dependent on the urgency of a producer to sell a particular item. Some increases in demand were evident, but downward pressure continued to envelop much of the Coastal species market. Larger volume inquiries could garner deeper concessions from producers. Inland species noted that weather continued to meddle with business across much of the nation. Prices slipped off some in both Fir-Larch and Hem-Fir. Stud producers entered the market early needing to move product, generating discounts – sometimes deep. Again, western US producers extended discounts to shore up excesses. Industrial lumber supplies, including both Radiata Pine and Ponderosa Pine, are ample or better for almost any industrial item. Major activity in Ponderosa Pine Commons included “cleaning up some stuff,” according to one source. Selects continue to show a steady profile in price and pace. Several Western Red Cedar producers reported a notable pickup in market activity, consisting of both increased quotes and sales. Although early, producers perceived a much more active March than they experienced in February.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 8, 2019.

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


Panels: OSB spent yet another week plodding through winter weather. Wood did not move out of yards to retail, and volumes continued backing up at mills. Sources said they felt pent-up demand was building in some regions. Southern Pine plywood sales activity remained lackluster. Pricing was largely “flat” with some producers achieving a modicum of success selling rated sheathing at modestly higher price levels. Weather was blamed, although Gulf State traders reported improved weather. Western Fir plywood producers generated mixed reviews of the market, but none of them portrayed considerably more strength in a market dogged by a lack of demand all year. Instead, sheathing panel prices remained weak, with no sense of firmness. Discounts got Canadian plywood markets moving this week, although prolonged winter weather remained a limiting factor. “Not a lot of change” was a description used in particleboard or MDF markets. Weather conditions continued to interrupt demand, especially from those sectors associated with residential housing construction.


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