RISI Crow's Market Recap

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RISI Crow's Market Recap

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 sales activity was sluggish. Western producers reported limited interest among customers, and secondaries noted the market to be “incredibly quiet” in some instances. Southern Pine activity was often not as brisk as the prior week, but producers continued to experience better sales than earlier in the month. Pricing in Coastal species was often narrowly mixed, most commonly a difference between green and dry. Discounting was fairly minor in dry items while green Doug Fir narrow widths sold at slightly higher levels. Inland producers continued to hold out against attempts to pull the market down and were generally able to achieve that goal. Some did very modest price accommodation, and others refused to give at all. A lack of demand placed downward pressure on a wide array of stud prices while others held. Adjustments were not severe, but mills needing to move volumes sometimes did so at considerably lower prices. Ponderosa Pine industrials have begun to reflect a slight glow of anticipation, buoyed by hope more than the conditions of the marketplace. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons remained enmeshed in weather and transportation issues. Industry attitudes were better than in prior weeks, and inquiries were spread over a wider geographical distribution. In Western Red Cedar, weather continued to knot the distribution chain in some regions despite warming occurring in some parts of the U.S. and Canada.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 22, 2019.

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

Panels: OSB markets were termed “dull to dead” by some, although others noted a slight renewal of interest on the tails of Canadian plywood’s renaissance. Southern Pine plywood sales remained dull. Producers often described activity as a continuing “grind.” The extent of mill order files remained in the week of April 1. Most producers reported a slow week of sales in Western Fir plywood. Mills jockeyed for sales by way of discounts, trying to outdo their competition without dropping prices too aggressively. Some Canadian plywood producers moved their order files from the week of March 25 to the week of April 22. Others have also shown excellent business, selling now for the week of April 15. The consensus of the market is a clear gain of two points, Little change occurred in MDF and particleboard markets. Yards sometimes purchased replenishment volumes more actively, seeing takeaways from their yards pick up. Particleboard sales in the East remained solid.