Random Lengths framing lumber composite climbs US$5 to US$370/mbf in week ending May 2; April average of US$365/mbf is US$19 below March average of US$384/mbf

LOS ANGELES , May 4, 2014 () – The Random Lengths framing lumber composite climbed US$5 (1.37%) to US$370 per thousand board ft. (mbf) in the week ending May 2, and was $26 (6.57%) below the price reported at this time last year of $396/mbf, reported Random Lengths in its weekly lumber market report.

The lumber composite averaged $365/mbf in April, down $19 (4.95%) from the average in March of $384/mbf, and $72 (16.48%) lower than the price in April 2013 of $437/mbf, according to Random Lengths data. The yearly average for 2013 was $384/mbf – up $62 (19.25%) from the average in 2012 of $322/mbf.

Buyers remained cautious, but had more needs to cover as better weather increased demand in most regions, reported Random Lengths. Storms and flooding in the Southeast temporarily halted the previous week’s pick-up in sales, but momentum showed signs of returning from Thursday.

Western SPF trading did not match the pace of the week before, but most prices were firm or edged higher on steady sales. Random Lengths noted that some traders were wary about high inventories as sawmills continued to face railcar issues. Some mills offered discounts on straight lengths, although quotes on other items firmed and edged higher as availability tightened.

By Thursday, sawmills were quoting 2x4 random in a $340-$347 range, but some buyers reported quotes in the high $330s. The reported price of KD Western SPF #2&Btr 2x4 advanced $5 (1.48%) to $342/mbf, but was $3 (0.87%) lower than the price reported at this time last year of $345/mbf.

Lumber futures prices were generally flat for most of the week, moving in small increments in both directions, until Friday which saw sharp gains of up to $8.60 in the September contract, and of $7 and $7.40 in May and July, respectively. May lumber futures, which opened on Monday at $333.80/mbf, closed on May 2 at $344.50/mbf, a gain on the week of $10.70 (3.21%). July futures opened at $333.40/mbf and closed $11.10 (3.36%) higher on Friday at $341.50/mbf.

Eastern SPF sales varied according to region and were more active in the U.S. than in Canada, reported Random Lengths. Canadian mills selling into the U.S. based prices on sales in Quebec and Ontario, but attracted little activity.

The reported price of KD Eastern SPF (delivered Great Lakes) #2&Btr 2x4 random dropped $2 (0.46%) to $433/mbf after holding at $435/mbf in the two previous weeks, and was $23 (5.04%) below the price reported at this time a year ago of $456/mbf.

In Southern pine markets, storms caused log shortages at some mills, reported Random Lengths, creating the prospect of further tightening in wide dimensions. Gains were uneven, with notable strength in #2 2x8 leading to double-digit gains on the westside and brisk sales of 2x4 on the eastside.

The reported price of KD Southern Pine (Westside) #2 2x4, which jumped $11 to $381/mbf in the week ending April 25, advanced a further $4 (1.05%) to $385/mbf – down $40 (9.41%) from the price reported at this time last year of $425/mbf.

Douglas fir sales picked up from Wednesday as early-week price softness dissipated at Portland-rate mills on active sales, reported Random Lengths. Sales of Std&Btr 2x4 dipped to $320 early in the week at Portland-rate mills, but producers boosted quotes after selling off month-end excesses, and the reported price finished at $327/mbf – down $5 (1.51%) from the price a week before of $332/mbf and $8 (2.39%) lower than the year-ago price of $335/mbf.

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