Random Lengths North American structural panel composite climbs US$3 to US$367/msf; strong sales of Western plywood extend mills' order files to weeks of June 18, 25

LOS ANGELES , June 3, 2012 () – The Random Lengths structural panel composite advanced for an eighth consecutive week, by US$3 (0.82%) to a reported US$367 per thousand sq. ft. (msf) in the week ending June 1. Compared to the price at the same time last year of $274/msf, the composite was $93 (33.94%) higher.

For May as a whole, the composite averaged $359/msf - $15 (4.36%) above the average in April of $344/msf, and $81 (29.14%) higher than last May’s average of $278/msf, according to Random Lengths data. The average for 2011 was $292/msf, $32 (9.88%) lower than the average in 2010 of $324/msf.

Sales of OSB slowed last week, but steady demand and controlled production meant prices continued to strengthen, reported Random Lengths. Demand was strongest in the West, and this helped to drive markets in other regions. The price of the benchmark grade, OSB North Central 7/16 in., gained $5 (2.06%) to reach $248/msf - up $73 (41.71%) from the price reported at this time last year ($175/msf).

The OSB composite advanced for an eighth week, by $5 (1.88%) to $271/msf from $266/msf in the week before, and was up $73 (36.87%) from the price at this time last year ($198/msf).

In Southern plywood markets, some producers entered last week with gaps in their order files for the week beginning June 4, reported Random Lengths. This led to offers on thick rated sheathing of $5-10, but once files were booked into the week of June 18, mills restored prices to near previously quoted levels - although they found little support. Buyers remained cautious, and traders reported deliveries of pine sheathing into the Midwest and Northeast at $20 below fir - or even lower.

The reported price of Southern plywood eastside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply held at $400/msf for a third week, an increase of $95 (31.15%) compared to the price reported at this time last year of $305/msf.

The reported price of Southern plywood westside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply held at $385/msf for a fifth straight week, and was $100 (35.09%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $285/msf.

Southern plywood westside CDX 15/32 in. 4-ply held for a second week at $390/msf, and was $110 (39.29%) above the price reported a year ago of $280/msf.

The Southern plywood composite fell by $2 (0.38%) from $527/msf to $525/msf, but was $125 (31.25%) higher than the price reported at the same time last year ($400/msf).

Western Plywood mills saw steady market gains with some producers shipping record volumes of CC grade, and on active sales to agricultural bin makers and other industrial customers. Most producers were quoting shipments for the weeks of June 18 and 25 by Friday, and Random Lengths noted that one mill was booked into the week of July 9 due to the diversion of veneer to LVL production.

Western Plywood Coast CDX 1/2 in. 4-ply sheathing advanced $4 (1.03%) to $392/msf from $388 in the previous week. Compared to the price reported at this time last year ($286/msf), the price was $106 (37.06%) higher.

The Western fir plywood composite increased $3 (0.55%) to $553/msf from $550/msf in the previous week, and was $106 (23.71%) higher than the price reported a year ago ($447/msf).


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