Random Lengths structural panel composite climbs US$5 to US$302/msf; sales of Southern plywood continue to gain, but momentum fades from previous week

LOS ANGELES , September 25, 2011 () – The Random Lengths structural panel composite gained US$5 (2.41%) in the week ending Sept. 23, passing the $300 per thousand sq. ft. (msf) mark to finish the week at $302 per thousand sq. ft. (msf).

The composite is now $24 (8.63%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $278/msf.

Sales of Southern plywood slowed from the frantic pace of the previous week, which saw double-digit gains on rated sheathing prices by midweek as the market reacted to news of Georgia-Pacific’s plans to indefinitely close its plywood plants in Crossett, Arkansas and Hawthorne, Florida.

With order files extending as far ahead as Oct. 24 after the buying spree, producers kept upward pressure on quotes, although Random Lengths reported that many had pulled off the market by Friday. Some rated sheathing items finished the week with double-digit increases, but gains made last week were far less significant than those seen in the week ending Sept. 16.

The reported price of Southern plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply, which climbed $32 in the week ending Sept. 16, moved up another $5 (1.52%) last week to finish at $335/msf. This was a $50 (17.54%) increase compared to the price reported at this time last year ($285/msf).

Southern plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in.4-ply gained $10 (3.03%) to reach $340/msf after a $26 increase in the previous week. Friday’s price was $38 (12.58%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $302/msf.

Southern plywood eastside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply climbed $20 (5.88%) from $340/msf to $360/msf, and was $50 (16.13%) higher than the price reported at this time last year ($310/msf).

The Southern plywood composite climbed $11 (2.48%) to $454/msf, up $43 (10.46%) from the price at this time a year ago of $411/msf.

In Western plywood markets, prices at or close to their previous highs for the year made buyers cautious, but lean inventories led to steady purchasing from mills and secondaries.

The reported price of Western Plywood Coast CDX 1/2 in. 4-ply sheathing reached its highest level so far this year at $345/msf – up $60 (21.05%) from the year-ago price of $285/msf.

The Western fir plywood composite gained $4 (0.85%) to close the week at $472/msf. This was $18 (3.93%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $458/msf.

OSB trading remained quiet for another week, but Random Lengths reported a high ratio of orders to calls. By Friday morning, most producers’ order files were booked into the first two weeks of October, although a few had loads available for shipment this week.

The reported price of the benchmark grade, North Central 7/16 in., held at $188/msf for a second week – up $25 (15.34%) from the price at this time last year of $163/msf.

The OSB composite also held at the previous week’s level, of $204/msf, and was $11 (5.70%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $193/msf.


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