The recent changes, disruption if you will, to the supply-demand balance of North American construction framing softwood lumber and panel products have worked their way through the market. Last week customers came back to suppliers with higher-volume orders than in recent weeks. This provided sawmills the ability to hold steady on prices for benchmark Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL), at US$310 mfbm.
Producers in other regions like the US south or Quebec dropped prices slightly but refused to go any lower.
Western S-P-F traders in the United States reported a steadier pace to sales activity last week as reduced production helped stabilize business and slow the bleeding of prices. Substantial volumes of low grade were ear-marked for shipment to China. There are many questions about home building and construction activity in the US. Last week buying from reloads and stocking wholesalers was relatively strong, however the final destination is remodelling and home improvement rather than new housing starts. Expectations are that major construction activity in the US will return later this summer.
“Western Spruce-Pine-Fir prices flattened out following sweeping sawmill curtailments; plywood prices were flat while Oriented Strand Board prices slid further down.” — Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Widespread curtailments at virtually every major Canadian lumber producer stopped the freefall in WSPF pricing last week. Order files at sawmills began to stretch out up to two weeks depending on the product. A burgeoning sense of panic spread among customers with depleted inventories as they realized the lion’s share of extremely limited production was spoken for. Major suppliers had already designated virtually all their low grade production for shipment to China.
In week ending April 10, 2020, benchmark Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 prices were US$310 mfbm, unchanged from the previous week. Last week’s price was down US$136, or -31%, compared to one month ago.
Madison’s Lumber Prices, weekly, are a good forecast indicator of US home builder’s current lumber buying activity ——> DETAILS
Be ahead of these data releases … Don’t delay, this week’s softwood lumber market comment was published to the website Monday morning.
“Both supply and demand stumbled again last week according to Eastern Canadian lumber purveyors. Buyers were apparently active early in the week, mostly probing the wholesale community for any remaining loads selling below replacement.” — Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Last week’s Western S-P-F 2×4 prices is down -$66, or -18%, relative to the 1-year rolling average price of US$376 mfbm and is down -$109, or -26% relative to the 2-year rolling average price of US$419 mfbm.
The below table is a comparison of recent highs, in June 2018, and current