Random Lengths North American structural panel composite climbs US$5 to US$384/msf in week ending July 11; plywood prices jump by up to US$17/msf, but OSB prices remain flat as buyers wait for price cracks to develop

LOS ANGELES , July 14, 2014 () – The Random Lengths North American structural panel composite gained US$5 (1.32%) in the week ending July 11, reaching $384 per thousand sq. ft. (msf) – up by the same amount of $5 (1.32%) from the price at this time last year of $379/msf, Random Lengths reported in its weekly panel market report.

OSB markets failed to pick up after the Canada Day and Fourth of July holidays, and buyers were in no hurry to place orders. Random Lengths noted that most sales were for one or two loads at or near previously reported levels, with many buyers holding back on expectations that price cracks would develop.

The reported price of the benchmark grade, OSB North Central 7/16 in., was flat at $213/msf for a third consecutive week, down $37 (14.80%) from the price reported at this time a year ago of $250/msf.

The OSB composite also held at $245/msf for a third straight week, and was $52 (17.51%) lower than the price reported a year ago of ($297/msf).

Sales were stronger in Southern plywood markets, and mills increased quotes as order files moved out into the last week of July and first week of August, reported Random Lengths. Some mills pulled off the market to avoid overselling, or priced defensively. Sales were brisk to home centers, secondaries and industrial markets, and demand was particularly strong in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, where buyers continued to see pine as a value alternative to western plywood.

The reported price of Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply moved $2 (0.47%) higher to $425/msf, and was $60 (16.44%) above the price a year ago of $365/msf.

The reported price of Southern Plywood Eastside CDX 15/32 in. 3-ply climbed $15 (3.33%) to $465/msf, and was $85 (22.37%) higher than the price reported at this time last year ($380/msf).

Southern Plywood Westside CDX 15/32 in. 4-ply advanced $5 (1.18%) to $430/msf, and was $55 (14.67%) higher than the price a year ago of $375/msf.

The Southern pine plywood composite gained $8 (1.37%), reaching $590/msf, and was up $53 (9.87%) from the price reported a year ago ($537/msf).

In western plywood markets, brisk trading peaked on Wednesday, pushing prices higher. The sales run began early in the week, reported Random Lengths, on a sharp increase in demand from Canadian buyers for CC panels, and large-volume purchases from manufacturers of agricultural bins. As mill order files moved further out, secondaries placed orders to ensure their needs were covered, and some were caught off guard by mills quoting shipments for late July and early August.

The reported price of Western Plywood Coast CDX ½ in. 4-ply jumped $17 (3.91%) to $452/msf – up $74 (19.58%) from the price reported at this time a year ago of $378/msf. Mills quoted up to $460/msf on ½ in. 4-ply, but booked most of their business in a $450-455 range.

The Western fir plywood composite climbed $11 (1.81%) to $619/msf – up $45 (7.84%) from the price reported at this time last year of $574/msf.

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