Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 8, 2011

*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: SPF producers lowered quotes by single digits and discounted off those levels by about $10 in some cases, but sales were modest. Not helping the overall perception in the market was strong downward moves in futures contracts. Southern Pine lumber producers reported an increase in sales activity at midweek, but discounted dimension lumber remained the norm. Needing to move considerable volumes of dry items, Coastal species lumber producers lowered prices at midweek, resulting in enough liquidity to move a large share of those volumes. This week, without forewarning, Inland species lumber prices dropped sharply, some as much as $30. Not all producers lowered prices, but a good deal of lumber is on the ground. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr remains at the $1,325/$1,350 split for 5/4 and 6/4, respectively. Shop is "decently balanced," according to another source, with little mill pressure to promote firmer levels in #3 Shop. Price appreciation in #2 Common has plateaued for the moment, leaving 1x12 at $660. The #3 Common shows slight gains in inquiry from offshore buyers and from Mexico. Idaho White Pine has reentered the market in sufficient volume to create upward price changes. Eastern White Pine demand "is better than it has been, but not yet strong," according to one regional manager. Radiata Pine lumber continues to undergo contraction, based on global considerations. For much of the Western Red Cedar market, spring sales have shown marginal improvement, but demand has not reached the point to where supplies are tightening much.

PANELS: Running low on order files and seeing unsold production come at them, Western Fir plywood producers were forced to sell CDX panels at discounted levels. Light sales of Southern Pine plywood eroded mill order files reaching into the weeks of April 11 and 18, but prices remained stable. Other than a few adjustments of $5 or less, prices were steady. OSB producers in most regions were willing to deal off listed numbers, with most of those discounts ranging from $4 to $8. Western Canada was more vulnerable, Vancouver was down $10, and Calgary and Edmonton were both off $15. Canadian plywood producers have wrapped up a huge volume of plywood for the export market. This gives real strength to the market, but prices have not appreciated above the C$322 for 9.5 mm CSP sheathing so far. In the South, reports indicate that trading over the course of the week has improved for both particleboard and MDF. Prices are not generally changed. 

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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