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RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Eastern producers reported sales to large pro-dealers purchasing for spring needs.

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: After the prior week’s late surge in activity, SPF trading eased. Some traders laid blame for sluggish demand on this Friday’s expiration of the March futures contract. Eastern producers reported sales to large pro-dealers purchasing for spring needs. Improved Southern Pine trading limited some discounts. Buyers turned more of their attention toward spring needs and April deliveries. Lower prices remained prevalent at the end of the week across most #2 items. Price adjustments across Coastal species items were minor. Producers sold green Doug Fir 2×4 Std&Btr at slightly higher levels. Dry prices were not as stable. Inland lumber buyers looked for a little lumber and reasons why their shipments were so late. Delays of up to three weeks, caused by weather and spotty car placement by railroads, caused friction. Stud pricing was mixed, although overall demand was lackluster. Mills again came into the market lowering prices on items needing moved. Ponderosa Pine, and all other domestic pines, reflect the very moderate pace of demand most usual in late winter. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons are still playing the winter game. The marketplace itself shows few notable changes. Western Red Cedar producers reported solid sales, some saying not as good as the prior week but still better than the pace in February. An improvement in US housing starts data for January that came out late the week prior caught traders’ attention.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 15, 2019.

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

Panels: Mixed signals came from the OSB front this week. Another round of big winter storms confounded any surge in sales; however, sources reported deals being made under established levels on volumes. The pace of Southern Pine plywood trading remained moderate. Mill order files continued to shrink a bit, extending out into the first week of April, with some items still available in the week of March 18. Western Fir plywood sales continued to take place at discounted price levels. As in past weeks, mills lowered quotes sparingly to move production. Inquiries picked up this week for Canadian plywood, and a little more wood was purchased. Order files moved out, and some volume deals were quietly reported. Particleboard producers reported a mix of sales activity. Sales in the east were solid, with one producer reportedly turning away orders. Reports regarding MDF sales were more modest.

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