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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 Oct. 19, 2012

*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: Sales activity in the SPF lumber market improved, although much of the attention among buyers was directed toward 2x4 #2&Btr. Strong futures gains early, driven in part by fund buying, propelled buyers back into the market to cover needs. Increased demand absorbed surpluses at Southern Pine lumber mills, stabilizing prices early and then lifting them considerably by Thursday. Buyers flocked to mills to take advantage of low prices, needing to bolster inventories. Buyers entered the Coastal species lumber market in greater numbers early, absorbed what mills had on the ground and provided impetus for mills to raise prices. Yards bought greater volumes, having run inventories thin, and mills received immediate destinations for orders purchased by wholesalers. The Inland species lumber market continued a modest rally with excess inventories being cleaned up and prices firming. The action was focused mostly on the narrows of Hem-Fir/White Fir, but Fir-Larch producers saw a fair amount of business as well. Moulding and Shop prices remained firm and unchanged for both Radiata Pine and Ponderosa Pine. The absence of buyers from the Selects and Commons market continued to plague Ponderosa Pine board producers. Inland producers reported sales in the $500-505 range for both 1x6 and 1x12 #2&Btr. Sales volumes for Eastern White Pine remained steady and prices were firm. Continued steady demand for ESLP kept prices firm or up slightly. Buyers seemed more concerned with the mix and shipment time than the price. Western Red Cedar mills reported quieter sales activity for prompt shipping volumes. Both big boxes and their distribution networks spent the week lining up volumes for 2013.

Panels: OSB producers reported steady sales and stronger prices, as buyers returned for another round of buying. Although buying was widespread, the South and Mid-Atlantic regions saw the most activity. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market improved to its strongest level in several weeks. Much of the demand was focused on rated sheathing, which extended lead times for those items out into the week of October 29. Urgency among some Western Fir plywood producers to sell significant volumes of sheathing early forced deep discounts into the market – some upwards of $25. Buyers purchased enough volumes to force prices to bounce. Many Canadian plywood buyers stayed on the sidelines, as the market searched for a solid trading level. Some producers were firm at published levels. Others had wood to move and were willing to discount. Particleboard producers noted a little better pace in their market. The added demand often equated to producers struggling less to move a week's worth of production. The market for MDF has calmed. However, customers are still on allocation and happy to get what they can. Mills continue to carry lengthy order files. 

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