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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 Feb. 18, 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: Some momentum from the previous week carried over, positioning a few SPF dimension lumber prices higher. Trading after Tuesday quieted, and the market settled into a slower pace for the remainder of the week. The sun popped out in the South, and snow melted further North, sending buyers looking for Southern Pine lumber volumes. Monday, mills were raising prices, and by Friday, prices had reached levels $10 to $15 higher. Mills sales of Coastal species lumber consisted of enough volume to maintain most price levels. Buyers continued to focus much of their attention on narrow widths, which allowed those prices in both dry Doug Fir and Hem-Fir to gain $5. Some of the Inland species have made small but significant gains over the last week. Buyers, seeing the numbers reduced last week, saw an opportunity to place some timely orders. Some subtle but definite signs have begun to show that the market is beginning to shake off winter. Ponderosa Pine #2&Btr Shop is tight, as is all Radiata Pine Shop. Prices of Mldg&Btr in both species are bumping higher. Ponderosa Pine boards are strongest in #2&Btr Common, which has picked up well as retail outlets have emerged from snow and ice. All #3 boards, however, remain in some flux. Idaho White Pine is largely a non-entity, because no one presently has any volume to quote. Eastern White Pine producers report an increase in incoming calls, based on the fact that buyers "still have no inventories," according to one source. Western Red Cedar consumption was slightly improved, but it telegraphed back to producers only slightly. Moderately better sales activity was reported by a few mills at midweek.

PANELS: A late round of buying last Friday pushed Western Fir plywood prices slightly higher. Early follow-through orders came in at a moderate pace, but overall, the market lacked energy. Despite a slower pace than the week prior, an upbeat tone existed among Southern Pine plywood traders. Enough plywood was traded that more mills were able to establish order files into the week of Feb. 28. OSB price increases, which occurred broadly across the continent, have now ceased, with minor exceptions, and in some cases slight retrenchments have taken place. Canadian plywood prices are moot, since discounting does not usually bring additional sales. Buyers are waiting, at this point, for clear signs from retailers that they have begun to restock for spring sales. Overall, particleboard and MDF remain more readily available than demand, creating an ongoing competitive tone.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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