LTL Shipments Are More Prevalent Than Ever
Our first newsletter in April finds us firmly planted in a market that is giving back some of the monumental gains in a more meaningful way.
The strong downward print this past Friday was not a surprise to most, as we had been seeing aggressive numbers being quoted well below print levels for the past couple of weeks.
The correction phase that we now find ourselves in gives many consumers continued pause. Questions swirl around how much longer and deeper the downside will be prior to a material buy-in that many feel may firm up and potentially push it back up the other way.
As the week began, we saw larger mills start to react to the stronger downward print with new ask levels that were decidedly lower than last week. That being said, there still continues to be quite a gap between these printed ask levels and where business is truly being done.
The sentiment is that the larger mills have become more open to counters on tallies that fit them well and products that will ship in relatively due course.
At the regional level, we continue to hear aggressive numbers being thrown about as distribution wholesale is still looking to move off positions, whether it is material that is owned and in inventory or if they are just looking to aggressively short the market in an attempt to drum up business.
All of this continues to frustrate the overall market. As mentioned before, consumers feel that there is a need to buy, but they don't want to feel like they made the wrong decision at the wrong time.
Decision-making continues to come back around to the simple fact that it's an individual choice based on timing. When do you need to see the product on the ground? If you have time, consumers continue to hold. The only caution is that transportation has remained a bit of an issue, improving in some areas but certainly not on a stronger footing overall.
Supply & Distribution Update
This week, we have seen the number of rail cars and trucks available to transport material improving slightly and the bulk of backlogged orders making their way to buyers.
Freight rates remain high, a reflection of current fuel prices and scarcity of modes of transport. Freights look to remain at high levels for the foreseeable future. We have seen fewer increases in freight costs overall but some carriers have begun to include regional fuel surcharges to cover the added expense to fill tanks.
Mills have been showing broad offerings on all #2btr, MSR, and panel on mill directs with most shipments showing 3-4 weeks.
Distribution remains active as secondaries work to thin inventories into the western market with a heavier LTL presence as many are not wanting to step into any amount of volume.
News We Are Following
‘Extreme’ Supply Chain Snafus Hit Lumber Industry, Forcing Output Curbs as Prices Hover Near RecordGabriel Friedman - Financial Post
With the supply chain crunch still being felt as a result of recent railcar shortages, lumber mills are easing output with record-high prices in the mix. Canfor has reduced its workweek to 4 days at most of their BC mills. There is simply no more room for additional inventory. “We are experiencing extreme supply chain challenges,” Don Kayne, chief executive of Vancouver-based Canfor, said. “It has become imperative to reduce operating schedules to address our unsustainable inventory levels.” This is not the only producer to take such action, as others are facing similar inventory stockpile issues.
B.C. Government Announces Additional Logging Deferrals for At-risk Old-growth TreesChad Pawson - CBC News
With additional measures being added by the B.C. provincial government to protect old-growth trees on a deferred basis, over 1 million hectares of old-growth forest that are most at risk will be off-limits to logging for the next 2 years or more. "This makes me hopeful that we can see similar progress in coming months to ensure that all at-risk old growth can be set aside before logging happens," said Jens Wieting with Sierra Club B.C.
The dimensional market was at the forefront of the downward move in the overall market last week. We continue to see aggressive numbers being quoted, at times confusing many as to what the price points were rooted in. Truthfully, it feels like a big guessing game at this point, and those that are most interested, or perhaps most motivated to move material, are getting as low as they can to try and piece that business together. This was certainly prevalent across all widths from 2x4 right through 2x12.
The 2x4 market saw strong downward pressure, as indicated above. It was felt through all lengths, although 16’ continues to be more desirable and holds a premium. There were indications in some spots that this was not the case and the desire to move wood overtook the value proposition of what tallies looked like.
To start the week, we are continuing to see the pressure on 2x4 unfold, as what appears to be more of a buildup of the mills is enticing that level to find a way to attract business.
In what felt like a slower week in the 6” market, there seemed to be a bit more activity, but it was certainly secondary to 4”. Pricing was down, and again, regardless of the tally, it really became more a function of trying to capture the business from those buyers that seemed to want to put things together.
The opportunity to find the tally you’re looking for certainly seems to be in the cards at this point in time, and again, there is a continued opportunity for price concession bringing a firm offer to the market.
2x8 & 2x10
In 2x8 and 2x10, both seem to have a weakening tone to pricing throughout the week. We did see a little bit more interest in those widths last week as buyers came to the market. But the volume really didn’t do anything to curb the tide of lowering price ask levels.
Look for 8” and 10” to continue to try to find a level, but we do see more downside pressure and a gap between business and print continuing.
To start the week, we are seeing a strong volume of 2x12 appearing on some lists, once again. It continues to be a unique dimension with the ask levels considerably stronger in the marketplace than where we feel business is truly being put together.
At this point, with the market remaining quiet, we don’t think there will be much strong demand for 2x12, so look for continued downward pressure on that item at this point in time.
Stud demand softened further this week as purchasers are very reluctant to cover much more than their current, prompt requirements. Presumed downward pressure that had been concealed by steady demand and shipping woes for weeks finally cracked loose at the tail end of last week.
Mills still maintain a decent order file of 3 or more weeks, but keeping in step with the pullback in dimensional SPF, have begun to significantly discount their available offerings. Drops of $60-80/m were seen across all trims and into triple digits in some instances. Look for mills to entertain offers and aggressive counters, especially if looking to ship quickly into a major hub or popular lane.
Expect continued downward pressure throughout the week as buyers continue their cautious approach, leaning heavily on LTL and mixed offerings out of distribution to cover their most immediate needs. Purchasers have relied on fill-in stock for weeks, daunted at the prospect of a correction, and now that we're seeing it take shape, we expect most will continue to hold for a perceived bottom.
There hasn't been a tremendous amount of focus on the treated market over the past several weeks.
With the weather improving and May-long signaling the start of the treated season, most yards are reporting being well-stocked and ready. The concern at this point is the downside pressure that's been found in the whitewood market, and whether this negativity in the market overall will spill over into treated.
If we don't see a reasonable amount of takeaway to start the season, our concern is that we could be setting ourselves up for a challenging market as we move through the summer months with yards still frustrated by the position they found themselves in after last year's lackluster treated season. Time will tell here, so, unfortunately, we are just going to have to wait and see how the market unfolds.
Although mills have had to adjust pricing to reflect the discounted pricing on #2&btr, they haven't had to adjust as drastically.
Availability of most MSR items is sparse relative to #2&btr, so mills are able to retain a premium closer to their ask levels.
Remaining in fairly high demand is 2100, while 1650 continues to be more readily available of all the MSR items. As well, 1950 MSR is difficult to come by.
With continued uncertainty, LTL shipments are more prevalent than ever. Most truss customers are focusing on reducing inventory in their yards, and as such, they are continuing to only fill immediate holes for jobs that have existing POs. We remain vigilant in asking for lead times of 1 to 2 weeks on material shipping out of our inventory locations.
The panel market has been really on the back burner for most of the past several weeks, with the focus primarily on dimensional and the downward pressure that is being felt.
To finish the week, there was a bit more interest to bring panel to the forefront, as some feel there is a shift happening there as well.
Plywood is not the main culprit in panel this week, as we are seeing a continued flattening in that marketplace, which has been in place now for quite some time.
Transportation issues and reasonable sales volume have pushed plywood producers into early to mid-May. Pricing looks to have flattened even out of distribution, as many feel that perhaps the better approach is to keep product flowing at this time until there is a better sense as to where the plywood market may be headed.
Tight inventories continue to be an issue, with prompt plywood seemingly being nonexistent.
Print came down for the 1st time in over 4 months which has created a panic in the West where we are seeing distribution out with numbers well below to work down their on-ground inventories in advance of a dropping market.
Cash offerings from western mills have fully opened up with improved rail activity and the ability to move trucks into quicker shipping destinations.
Prices being offered are hovering around print on cash wood with minimal takeaway being reported.
On-ground inventories in western retail markets are reported as low.
We have inventories across the country to help fill your LTL and prompt lumber needs. Whether it’s studs, dimensional lumber, MSR, OSB or plywood, we have material on the ground and can fill your mixed truckload needs.
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