Random Lengths North American structural panel composite slips US$1 in week of March 21 to US$365/msf; traders report year's slowest week of OSB trading as benchmark grade flatlines at US$215/msf, half the price a year ago

LOS ANGELES , March 24, 2014 () – The Random Lengths North American structural panel composite dipped US$1 (0.27%) in the week ending March 21 to US$365 per thousand sq. ft. (msf) – down $149 (28.99%)from the price at the same time last year of $514/msf, reported Random Lengths in its weekly panel market report.

The week’s OSB trading was seen by some traders as the year’s slowest so far, as wary buyers held back to assess the impact on prices of month and quarter-end pressure. Random Length noted that memories of last year’s second quarter price meltdown added to the sense of caution. Mills with order files booked into April stayed off the market or limited sales to fill-in loads, but those with loads available for shipment in the weeks of March 24 and 31 took a more aggressive approach to pricing.

The price of the benchmark grade, OSB North Central 7/16 in., remained flat for a seventh consecutive week at $215/msf - down $215 (50%) from the price reported a year ago of $430/msf.

The OSB composite dropped $6 (2.27%) to $258/msf, and was $234 (47.56%) below the price reported a year earlier of $492/msf.

Southern plywood sales were steadier than those in OSB and Western plywood markets, with order files generally booked into the week of March 31, reported Random Lengths. Rated sheathing prices were mostly either flat of slightly higher, but shortages of railcars and trucks continued to frustrate producers and buyers, while higher truck rates ate into profit margins.

The reported price of Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply edged $2 (0.53%) higher to $379/msf, but was $96 (20.21%) lower than the price a year ago of $475/msf.

Southern Plywood Eastside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply held at $417 for a second straight week after gaining $7 in the week ending March 14. Friday's price was $78 (15.76%) below the price reported at this time last year of $495/msf.

Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 4-ply moved $2 (0.52%) higher to $387/msf, but was down $98 (20.21%) from the price reported last year of $485/msf.

The Southern Pine Plywood composite nudged $1 (0.18%) higher to $555/msf, but was $66 (10.63%) below the price reported a year ago of $621/msf.

In Western plywood markets, demand remained weak and prices were flat or slightly down, reported Random Lengths. Producers were reluctant to entertain counters after another rise in veneer costs, but spot deals were sometimes available at mills that needed to move a car or truck. Order files ranged from the week of March 24 to early April.

The reported price of Western Plywood Coast CDX ½ in. 4 ply slipped $5 (1.29%) to $383/msf, and was down $67 (14.89%) from the year-ago price of $450/msf. Random Lengths noted that most orders were booked in the low $380s, but were in a range from the low $370s to high $380s.

The Western fir plywood composite dipped $3 (0.52%) to $571/msf, and was $67 (10.50%) lower than the price reported at this time last year ($638/msf).

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.