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Market Recap: RISI Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 27, 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: Following the Canadian holiday, enough buying took place for SPF mills to firm prices. Wholesalers continued to cover shorts and yards stepped in to add to the moderate demand. Southern Pine mills were forced to give ground in a competitively priced market. Discounts were most often in a range of a few to $5, with deeper discounts occasional used to move buildups. Increased Coastal species sales and recent cutbacks in production helped push dry prices $5 in some instances, particularly in white woods. California buyers increased their participation in the green Doug Fir market moderately. Inland species saw some improved activity on Thursday, but not enough to call the market greatly improved. The action did provide producers with evidence enough to firm prices. Ponderosa Pine 5/4 Mldg&Btr ranges in price from $1,355 to $1,365, with 6/4 showing a range of $1,400 to $1,405. A $10 spread can be found in most Shop items, as some producers advance their prices and others hold back on increases. Production levels of western boards has increased as mills get new decks of Ponderosa Pine logs and begin cutting them in order to avoid stain. Demand has not expanded in concert with the increase. Idaho White Pine also lacks any strong market backing at this point, but prices have not weakened. Prices of Eastern White Pine boards are basically stable. Questions have arisen with regard to Radiata Pine, from both New Zealand and Chile. Attempts on the part of Western Red Cedar producers to raise prices for profitability and not in response to market influences remained largely unsuccessful.

PANELS: Discounts were used to sell moderate volumes of Western Fir plywood. Declining log and veneer costs seemed to give mills more room to edge prices lower in search of sales. Another week of slow sales in the Southern Pine plywood market forced mills to offer a range of discounts to move rated sheathing volumes. Quotes were often lowered $5 to $10 with scattered discounts of $15 to $20 below those lowered quotes. OSB prices are at nominal bottoms, further discounts giving little incentive to buyers in most areas. In the face of mediocre Canadian plywood demand, but also in recognition of the fact that some producers have secured gains of 3% on very slight volumes, the baseline for the coming week is being reported at an unchanged C$296. It appears that particleboard and MDF prices have begun to move in concert with increased expenses, at least in both the Inland and Southern production regions.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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