April 22, 2020

Lumber markets finally stabilized last week, after more mill closure announcements helped to balance out the supply side of the equation.  Most of the announcements have come out of Canada, but some US mills have also started to curtail production.  2×4 #2 SPF prices actually ended the week higher by about $10 to $20 per mbf.  Conversely, higher quality domestic 2×4 White Fir and Douglas Fir prices actually slipped again, but by a smaller amount than previous weeks.  2×4 studs were actually the bright spot last week, and prices for 2×4 -92-5/8” trims moved up in all species.  Wide dimension prices were fairly flat, with 2×8 and 2×12 remaining one of the best bargains around.  Low grade prices remained firm once again, as pallet and crating producers remained fairly busy.

Panel prices leveled last week, after three weeks of deep discounts.  4×8 7/16” OSB prices actually moved up on Friday, after several large dealers and distributors jumped in to take advantage of the bargain prices.  By Monday morning, prices were actually up by $15 per msf over prices being quoted last Thursday.  SYP plywood rated sheathing prices also leveled out a bit.  Premium and specialty panel prices remained mostly unchanged yet again.

Steel prices slipped again last week.  Most mills, both domestic and foreign, lowered their rebar prices by around $1 per cwt in response to lower demand and lower scrap prices.  Dealers seem to be happy with the lower prices, but are still buying only what they need in the near term, given the current uncertainty in the market.  Remesh prices also slipped due to lower costs for wire rod and scrap steel.