Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 27, 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: Traders blamed the short week, winter weather in the states and a moderately weaker market for quiet SPF lumber trading. Prices for specified lengths were negotiated more frequently, as mills worked those items to fill allotted railcars. Southern Pine lumber trading was uneventful, constricted by the short holiday week and heavy rains and snow in the Southeast. Limited demand was countered by a shorter production schedule, and some smaller mills curtailed production for the entire week. Demand for Coastal species faded overall, leaving most prices flat and generating a few deeper discounts. Wide widths remained the items with the most strength, while the position mills carried in narrow widths tended to weaken. Light sales activity was reported in Inland species. The shorter holiday week’s lack of offerings from producers contributed to the slower pace. Those producers who did come up with offerings had little trouble moving them off, especially the wides. Radiata Pine Shop remained in tight supply with buyers unable to cover all their needs. Ponderosa Pine 4/4 Shop prices increased $10 with some sales reported at higher levels. Ponderosa Pine board buyers continued to look for coverage, many times without success. Any items with shipment times of two weeks or sooner were snapped up as soon as they were presented by the mills. Eastern White Pine producers continued to see active inquiries and strong sales. Activity for ESLP was steady and prices moved up on #2&Btr. Western Red Cedar producers continued to fill what customers forecast for their first-quarter needs. This has led to order files for some items pushing into February. Other producers reported sluggish sales activity. 

Panels: OSB producers concentrated on extending order files rather than pushing prices higher. Most mill order files were into the week of 12/9 or 12/16; however, some producers quoted the week of 12/2 and looked for offers. Others looked for sales priced time of shipment. Southern Pine plywood mills reported sluggish sales. Early exits from offices occurred in even greater numbers as travelers tried to get out in front of the storm hitting the East Coast. Prices were firm and held very close to prior levels. Thin order files and the approach of a long holiday weekend proved detrimental to Western Fir plywood prices. Prompt availability at mills forced some producers to discount $5-10. Canadian plywood producers reported a quiet start to the week. Distribution center buyers bought cautiously; however, sales out of yards remained steady and fill-in wood was bought. Overall, mill sales in both particleboard and MDF across all producing regions were lackluster. Order files often extended into the middle of December or later.

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