Lumber prices in 2014 are beginning to take shape but, a few months back we thought pricing would remain bullish and we would see a few strategic windows to buy product. This insight has proven true for dimensional lumber. In the second week of December, and the second week of January, we saw a distinct ‘buying window’ and we took advantage for your benefit.
Mill pricing simply remains firm considering weather considerations. Mills are giving deals on certain items to balance out their production but they are not able to produce the logs they want. To add to the obstacles facing mills, they can’t get as many cars as they want, their order files are already slightly extended, and many seem to feel like the market will come to them. This would indicate no major downward pricing until spring.
In the last two months studs have actually remained relatively flat for 92 5/8″ but bullish for 104 5/8″. Mills ship 8′ logs more efficiently than 9′ logs and claim to have low log production for the 9′ offerings. 2x4x104 5/8″ studs are up a little over 3% and 2x6x104 5/8″ studs are up more than 6% from December.
OSB prices continues to be flat.
Demand for the product has been somewhat low in our region due to weather conditions and the manufacturers appear to be content with their current levels of production.
Southern Yellow Pine printed lowest in mid-December. The exact dates vary depending on the offering, but overall Southern Yellow Pine market has heated up on the narrow dimensional while the wide dimensional has remained flat. 2×6’s are up as much as 15% while 2×8’s are up as much as 7%.
Going forward seasonality and history tell us some dealers haven’t bought any inventory yet and they probably won’t until they see an increase in sales. The increase in sales usually happens all at once. I would expect things to stay flat to slightly bullish with anticipation for spring before becoming stronger near the end of March. Production has seemed to even out and it appears dealers may have a better handle on demand. I don’t think we will see quite as much “panic buying’ this year and in turn we will not see as much price fluctuation as we have in previous years.
As always, lumber prices can be a moving target, but we will do our best to keep you informed as to any changes we see in lumber prices in 2014.