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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 Dec. 10, 2010 

*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 CrowIs Weekly Market Report.

LUMBER: SPF buyers became more aware of the dealings mills are having in regard to orders being negotiated with China for January. A moderate boost in the pace of sales in the Southern Pine lumber market gave producers a reason to firm up some quotes. Demand for Coastal species lumber increased markedly on Wednesday, leading to firmer pricing. Inland Hem-Fir is more active and has more strength than Fir-Larch. Inland Hem-Fir 2x4 #2&Btr, for instance, moved above $300 in most lists and was clearly firmer than last week. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr sold in volume at $1,225; 6/4 is at $1,240. Serious reductions have taken place in Shop production, resulting in firmer prices, as well. Commons continue to move reasonably well. Buyers are still looking for heavy mixes in #2 Common, but prices seem to have come to a peak. Idaho White Pine Standard and Utility are both moving well enough to cause no real problems. The Sterling, however, shows clear evidence of an ongoing push for market share with Eastern White Pine. Eastern White Pine Standard and Industrial are quite stable and holding well at current levels. Premium in random tallies, however, is taking a thumping from buyers offering deep counters to mills. Most Radiata Pine suppliers from both Chile and New Zealand have found alternative outlets for their wood, which includes both logs and lumber, serving to keep their prices very firm. While some Western Red Cedar producers reported somewhat stronger sales, others experienced little more than a typical December week.

PANELS: Light demand forced Western Fir plywood producers to fall back on order files and offer some modest discounts in a few instances. CDX price adjustments were minor. A few modest discounts combined with defensive quotes to generate an array of prices in the market. Demand in the Southern Pine plywood market was limited to buyers filling immediate needs and, in the words of one producer, some "just-in-case purchasing." Rated sheathing prices were flat. The most notable development in OSB this week came from Canada, where some aggressive selling resulted in some significant volumes of product sold at fairly deeply discounted prices. The Canadian plywood sales activity at mill level is "Hit and miss," according to one manager, but it is stable enough to cause him to add that Canada has "a good stable market right now." A renewal of demand from several key sectors of the economy has brought above-average sales for some particleboard and MDF producers in both the West and South.

Source: RISI's Crow's Weekly Market Report

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