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RISI Crow’s Market Recap

Stud pricing remained on a flat to downward trajectory last week.

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 trading remained sluggish, leading to lower #2&Btr prices. Declines occurred across both eastern and western Canada, as urgency to sell quicker shipping volumes continued. Southern Pine producers experienced little uniformity across #2 dimension items. Limited demand and any urgency to sell volumes of a particular item shaped mill quotes and negotiated sales levels. Moderate downward price movement in #2 was much more evident than any premiums. Traders described the Coastal species market as flat, but pressure on prices was more prevalent on the downside than up. Buyers continued to purchase sporadically, allowing no upward momentum to build. Inland producers reported an inconsistent week, marked by transportation issues and a grinding tone to the market. Price activity tended to reflect negative forces, brought on by necessity to sell. Stud pricing remained on a flat to downward trajectory. Most declines were not by double-digits, but deeper discounts were used to move quick shipping volumes. Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber inventories remained heavily weighted toward #3 Shop and P99. Price changes were rare in mill lists, but concessions were available in those lower grades for one-off volume purchases. Seasonal hints of change played over the Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons market. Neither the pace of business nor selling levels were much affected, but conversations indicated anticipation. Changes in the Western Red Cedar market were modest, if at all, leaving it void of much momentum with regard to spring buying. Producers often reported steady sales to slightly better. Expectations are for improvement as mid-April nears.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 29, 2019.

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

Panels: OSB activity slogged through yet another uneventful week, still held back by lingering winter and flooding in the central US. Inquiry levels were reported up slightly, with spotty perk-ups where weather improved. Trading in the Southern Pine plywood market remained “a grind” for most. Buyers continued to purchase sparingly, keeping buys in balance with sales. Sales of Western Fir plywood remained a slog for producers. Discounts were widespread, varying by volume and how bad a producer needed to move a particular item. That urgency to sell was exacerbated by producers forced into stacking production. After last week’s little rally, Canadian plywood markets were quiet but firm. Discounts were unavailable. MDF and particleboard markets were steady as the quarter came to a close. Order files remained solid, although some minor excesses were apparent.

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