Front and centre in the marketplace at large is the coronavirus and the effect it is having on global markets, as well as the health and safety of the general population.
Governments are showing an increased willingness to focus resources on this important issue and it is certainly having a toll on individual and specific markets that affect people’s personal businesses.
With that said, the lumber market is not immune. We are seeing a great deal of uncertainty from the customer base, all the way through the supply chain, from the mills right down to the end-users. This is causing a slowdown in current consumption.
We do still feel that the lumber market fundamentals have not changed. We have found ourselves in a much more balanced market with respect to supply and demand. The overall takeaway should continue to help match supply. In the short term, however, there is definitely a sense that takeaway may slow.
Activity in the Futures Market
With the volatility seen in the overall stock market, we would like to highlight that the lumber futures market has followed suit with dramatic up and down movement in recent trading weeks.
The lumber futures market is an important tool but we do caution that it is only one piece of a larger picture. When dealing with lumber from day to day, futures can at times cloud what may be happening in specific areas.
If you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts about what you see happening in the futures market and how it might affect your specific region, please contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss the situation with you and provide a deeper insight.
Limited Forestry Jobs Returning to BC Interior After Transfer of Logging Rights
Now that the logging rights at the shuttered Canfor mill in Vavenby have been transferred to Interfor Corp. some jobs are expected to return to the region. It may take several weeks or months, but the wait for a return to work is over.
Climate Change is Everyone’s Problem and Forestry Workers are Doing Their Part
One of the biggest ways forestry workers are helping with the fight against climate change, particularly in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area, is tree planting. By planting trees in areas that would otherwise not see new forestation, these hard-working people are helping to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. On top of that, they are fertilizing these regions for faster growth.
The dimensional market started the week a little slower than we have seen recently, although mills are coming out with numbers similar to last week. Some numbers have pushed slightly higher, mainly as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.
There are reasonable tallies coming from the mills with some availability being seen on 2x4. There is not a shortage but we are seeing a two-tiered market as distributors are trying to liquidate what they have on hand below mill replacements.
There is a little less availability as compared to 2x4 but the story is similar, with the two-tiered market and distribution having access to more material as they are trying to stay ahead of the market with reduced pricing.
The 8” market appears to be on better footing this week with decent offerings from the mills and more availability in the longer lengths. Pricing is holding firm as most mills are falling back on order files, so there is not much of an opportunity for mills to reduce prices. Even at this point, countering will likely not yield much success, unless it’s an item that is extremely out of balance from a mill standpoint.
Pricing on 2x10 has flattened from the runup. There is still limited availability at the mill level and there does not seem to be much 2x10 in the pipeline overall. We anticipate strong prices to continue holding at this point in time.
There are slighter better mill offerings on 2x12 with some material available at a few of the larger producers. Pricing is flat as 2x12 has not been affected much by wild price swings up or down. You should be able to fill your needs in a 1 to 2 week period at this point without much issue.
The stud market has seen some major gains in the last few weeks. Availability has been somewhat spotty.
6-inch availability has tightened in the last week or so. 2x4 prices have increased rather significantly over this period as well with 9’ leading the way. Finding what you want will depend on whether you can handle purchases at these levels or if you can hold off on immediate needs to wait for a possible pullback.
Better availability on 2x4 overall, with a major premium to 104-⅝ trims.
6” has been a little more scarce, while 104 has seen more pressure, it still is not the premium that we see on the 4” material.
Mills continue to push the program wood out to the retail yards. Most yards have up to 75% of their stock at this point, as they prepare for the fast-approaching spring season. It looks like it will be a strong season once it gets underway but there is still a little time left before that happens.
MSR still remains fairly strong with 2x4 1650 as the most readily available product. Lead times on most MSR items remain around 2-3 weeks with specific lengths being limited.
2x4 and 2x6 2100 are both extremely tight with long lengths being especially difficult to find. The 2x8 1950 market appears to have more availability at some mills with prices remaining relatively flat.
Our inventories remain fully stocked with MSR for LTL shipments available across North America.
Mills are pushed out on various forms of shipment into the week of the 23rd or the 30th for production. There continues to be a delay in the west for Super-Bs so shipments are a week to a week and a half behind, as it is difficult to find trucks. Pricing is flat to begin the week as there was a slight increase last week.
We still feel that the increase in plywood has been measured. It has moved up as production and takeaway have struck a balance. There is still good value despite being up off the lows. It certainly feels that the mills will be able to hold these numbers as they roll into April and the spring season.
We have seen a significant runup starting in Mid-January, which has brought a doubling in price since then. Order files are showing May shipment for any new business with limited prompt availability based on distributors with contracts. Buyers have been leaning on distribution to fill immediate needs, backing away if possible from new mill ask levels as the Random Length Print benchmark has been lagging the gains at the mill level.
A two-tiered market has opened up, and while you may find a truck to fill your immediate needs, the cheaper products that were purchased in the preceding weeks have started to disappear.
The gap is beginning to close between distribution and mill offerings, we expect pricing to stay on this trajectory for the next 8 weeks before we see the potential for relief.
This year will be very different from 2019, as we expect larger price swings.
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 ground and can fill your mixed truckload needs.
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