Random Lengths North American structural panel composite advances US$3 to US$366/msf in week of Dec. 20 on steady sales; OSB mills in western Canada find support for double-digit increases as sales improve, notably in the Pacific Northwest

LOS ANGELES , December 23, 2013 () – The Random Lengths North American structural panel composite gained US$3 (0.83%) in the week ending Dec. 20, reaching $366 per thousand sq. ft. (msf) after holding at $363/msf in the two previous weeks. Compared to the price at this time last year, the composite was down $88 (19.38%).

OSB sales improved across most of North America, especially in the Pacific Northwest where mills in western Canada found ready support for double-digit increases, reported Random Lengths. Order files were booked as far ahead as Feb. 3 in this region, although sales were more measured in other northern markets. In the South, scheduled production curtailments encouraged buyers to step forward and replenish inventories for January, and prices increased by $10 or more.

The reported price of the benchmark grade, OSB North Central 7/16 in., rose $3 (1.33%) to $228/msf from $225/msf in the previous week, but was $130 (36.31%) lower than the price reported at this time last year of $358/msf.

The OSB composite advanced $4 (1.54%) after holding at $260/msf in the previous two weeks, and was $135 (33.83%) lower than the year-ago price of $399/msf.

Steady sales in Southern plywood markets kept prices moving higher, with the strongest activity seen on Wednesday and Thursday, reported Random Lengths. Most mills finished on Friday with order files booked into the weeks of Dec. 30 or Jan. 6, and several reported that 19/32 in. rated sheathing generated the strongest demand.

The reported price of Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply climbed $5 (1.37%) to $370/msf, but was $45 (10.84%) below the price reported at this time last year of $415/msf.

Southern Plywood Eastside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply, which held to a reported price of $405/msf in the four previous weeks, advanced $5 (1.23%) to $410/msf, and was $20 (4.65%) lower than the price reported at this time last year of $430/msf.

The reported price of Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 4-ply also advanced $5 (1.34%) to $377/msf – down $53 (12.33%) from the price a year ago of $430/msf.

The Southern pine plywood composite edged $3 (0.55%) higher to $545/msf, and was $17 (3.02%) below the price reported at this time last year of $562/msf.

In Western plywood markets, mills extended order files into January and lifted prices modestly on most items, reported Random Lengths. The sales pace was generally quiet, although a few producers reported a pick-up in sales to California on Wednesday and Thursday.

The reported price of Western Plywood Coast CDX ½ in. 4 ply advanced $7 (1.84%) to $387/msf from $380/msf in the previous week, but was $68 (14.95%) below last year’s price of $455/msf. Random Lengths noted that quotes for 1/2 in. 4-ply sheathing reached as high as $395/msf at some mills, but most were in the high $380s to $390s.

The Western fir plywood composite moved $4 (0.70%) higher to $575/msf, and was $57 (9.02%) lower than the price reported at this time a year ago of $632/msf.

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