Random Lengths framing lumber composite edges US$2 higher to US$382/mbf on May 23 but prices start to crack on continued slow sales as some producers offer modest month-end discounts

LOS ANGELES , May 24, 2014 () – The Random Lengths framing lumber composite edged US$2 (0.53%) higher in the week ending May 23 to $382 per thousand board ft. (mbf) – up $21 (5.82%) from the price reported at this time last year of $361/mbf, Random Lengths reported in its weekly lumber market report.

Sales were slow, and Random Lengths noted that most framing lumber species displayed signs of market fatigue. Some producers with shrinking order files offered modest month-end discounts, and green Douglas fir markets were particularly weak as the holiday weekend approached.

Western SPF buyers remained wary of mill quotes after the weak close of the May lumber futures contract on May 15 at US$322.10/mbf, and subsequent declines in July futures prices. Mills leaned on order files and reported prices of #2&Btr were mostly unchanged, although prices of the narrows showed signs of cracking.

The reported price of KD Western SPF #2&Btr 2x4 held at $347/mbf for a second straight week, and was $27 (8.44%) higher than the price reported at this time a year ago of $320/mbf.

In futures trading, July futures dropped $8.60 (2.64%) on the week – opening on May 19 at $325.90/mbf and closing on May 23 at 317.30/mbf. September futures opened the week at $331.90/mbf and closed down $9.60 (2.89%) on Friday at $322.30/mbf.

Demand for Eastern SPF was weak, and mills generally sold production and held to quoted levels for floor stock that would not ship for up to two weeks, reported Random Lengths. The reported price of KD Eastern SPF (delivered Great Lakes) #2&Btr 2x4 random held at the previous week’s level of $440/mbf, and was $14 (3.29%) higher than the price reported at this time last year of $426/mbf.

In Southern pine markets, most widths of #2 sold readily and prices improved, reported Random Lengths. As shipments ordered several weeks ago began to arrive, a number of buyers had to balance a need to compensate for late shipments due to severe truck shortages against preventing inventory build-ups.

The reported price of KD Southern Pine (Westside) #2 2x4 random ended the week $8 (2.04%) higher at $401/mbf, and was $23 (6.08%) above the price reported at this time last year of $378/mbf.

Douglas fir sales fell back as the holiday weekend approached, and Random Lengths noted that most widths of Std/#2&Btr dimension were available at discounts. Increased purchasing by truss plants improved sales of #1&Btr 2x4, but prices of the narrow widths at Portland-rate mills dropped $7-10.

The reported price of green Douglas fir Std&Btr 2x4 dropped $7 (2.14%) to $320/mbf, and was $2 (0.62%) below the year-ago price of $322/mbf.

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