Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 8, 2013

*Western - regional species perimeter foundation; Southern - regional species slab construction.

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: Decent sales activity in the SPF lumber market and strong order files at mills kept prices firm. Lead times at mills extended at least out into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, forcing buyers to look for quicker shipping volumes from secondaries. Distributors, traders and producers all reported good sales activity in Southern Pine lumber. Customers looked high and low for scarce items such as 2x12 #2 and purchased significant volumes of low priced and more abundant volumes of 2x6 and 2x8. Enough demand occurred in the Coastal species lumber market for producers to maintain firm prices or bump them slightly higher. Limited wide-width availability and strong mill order files continued to place upward pressure on those prices. The pace of the Inland species lumber market remained active, as buyers hunted for quick shipments but found little relief from producers. They instead turned to secondaries with rollers or inventory in their yards or reloads. Order files and limited offerings helped keep Radiata Pine market prices firm. Limited production, equaled by demand, and mill order files into December kept solid legs under the Ponderosa Pine industrials market. Buyers looking for Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons had to make multiple calls in order to find coverage. Even then, they had no choice but to take what was offered and at the producers’ price. Idaho White Pine prices for Sterling grade moved up $5 to $10. Eastern White Pine did not see a lot of price increases, but order files into December and light field inventories gave producers confidence in the market. Western Red Cedar prices remained stable, although sales activity was relatively quiet. Limited production equaled by demand and mill order files into

Panels: Buyers had difficulty finding direction in OSB markets. Depending on the region and the day of the week, prices could vary considerably. Producers in some regions were more aggressive in their offerings and were able to pull some buyers off the fence. Southern Pine plywood producers trying to establish longer lead times opened to counters early but, by the end of the week, had pushed prices higher. Wholesalers covered shorts and took long positions consisting of moderate volumes. Yards purchased greater volumes to replenish lean inventories. Western Fir plywood trading picked up Wednesday after producers started the week lowering prices. Northeast yards made the decision to purchase for early December delivery, taking into account the potential for winter weather and its influence on consumption. The Canadian plywood market caught some people off guard. Mill order files moved into December quickly. Discounts offered early quickly disappeared and prices moved back to, or slightly over, published levels. The particleboard market in California has shown signs of improvement over the past several weeks, particularly in the southern part of the state. MDF sales were lackluster, and buyers continued to find some discounted volumes for prompt shipment.

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