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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 Sept. 23, 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: Sales were slow in the SPF lumber market to begin the week, with some reports that sales activity declined even more as the week progressed. With order files reportedly extending out into the week of Oct. 3, western mills were not inclined to lower quotes in search of business. Southern Pine lumber producers sold about as much volume as they wanted, often drawing the line at a week's worth of order file. "I don't want to sell any more than that at these price levels," said one producer. The sales pace in the Coastal species lumber market faded for mills, leaving most prices at or near where they began the week. Moderate sales activity helped keep market prices firm or up slightly for Inland species lumber. The bright spot in the Ponderosa Pine market was #2&Btr Commons. Producers reported steady sales and improving prices. Idaho White Pine producers reported a firm market, with 8-in. and 10-in. Sterling leading the way. Demand for Eastern White Pine Selects was on the slow side, while Premium moved well. A weaker market for Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop lumber was reported. Pressure from buyers for lower Shop prices forced some producers to drop prices in spite of previous sales at higher levels. Several Western Red Cedar producers reported an uptick in sales. With the calendar approaching the last quarter of 2011, buyers were interested in key lengths that would sell readily.

Panels: OSB prices in U.S. markets were virtually unchanged, with the exception of the Northwest, which saw prices come off $5. Carryover from the high level of sales activity the previous week was limited, but Southern Pine plywood producers experienced what several called "a good week of sales." Price increases were considerably more modest, with most rated sheathing ranging from $5 to $10 higher. Sales of Western Fir plywood "wound down as the week progressed," in the words of a trader, but producers were able to push some sheathing prices modestly higher before the pace slowed. Market activity in Canadian plywood was quieter at the mill level, partially due to order files that extend to the week of Oct. 24 in some instances and cheaper wood in the hands of secondaries. Producers quoted prices based on C$325 for 9.5 mm delivered Toronto. Few changes occurred in either MDF or particleboard markets, in regard to both prices and primary drivers. Producers were generally able to book production, which continued to leave order files running about two weeks, give or take a few days.  

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