Unable to hold off buying any longer and disgusted with continued high 2×4 prices out of North America’s western region, customers fled to the 2×8 sizes for their WSPF softwood lumber buying this week.
Problems with delivery and receiving wood already ordered were cited as reasons for such desperate purchases.
Prices of other construction framing wood products waffled, some up some down, while activity on the lumber futures board at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was puzzling at best:
Railed one lumber trader on Twitter:
LumberGuru @THELumberGuru Mar 8
“March #Lumber Settled at $43/m less than R/L Print …AND you’re guaranteed a railcar!? Hmmmmm… This could get interesting AND ugly. #NoLimits”
Current Softwood Lumber Prices Compared to Recent and Historical Highs
The below table is a comparison of June 2017 and March 2018 prices for benchmark dimension softwood lumber 2×4 prices compared to historical highs of 2004/05:
Another lumber trader commented on LinkedIn:
“There was also a lot of info gathering as to where the real market is on several products especially on items that have not been moving . . . Prices are suspect and negotiable, the extent and scope depending on individual situations.”
Circumstances on the ground ranged wildly across the continent, with weather conditions being by far the worst culprit. In the east there were yet more fierce storms, further impeding transportation on the rails and highways. In the west, warmer weather started the snow melt which will bring with it the usual spring road ban on big trucks and a powerful freshet on the mighty Fraser River.
Currently operators were anxious to actually receive wood ordered many weeks ago. For their part, sawmills were doing their best to work through these exaggerated order files and get previously-ordered product delivered soon.
In the west, forest operators eyed the skies as a fast-approaching spring means they better get as many logs into their yard as they can quickly.