Abundant Supply Keeps Lumber Prices Moderated

Following the Easter long weekend, demand for lumber increased somewhat however supply remained abundant. Sales to retailers increased noticeably, as weather across the continent became more seasonably mild.
A reminder to all that Madison’s Lumber Reporter has been tracking Canadian Plywood and OSB (oriented strand board) prices since the beginning. This is of course in addition to US OSB prices.
Included in our weekly coverage of North American construction framing softwood lumber and panel prices since 1952, the specific Canadian plywood prices we cover weekly are:
  • Doug-fir plywood 1/2 CDX
  • Doug-fir plywood 5/8 CDX
  • Doug-fir plywood 3/4 CDX
  • Doug-fir Underlayment 3/4
  • Cdn Softwood Ply CCX TO 9.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply CCX TO 12.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply CCX TO 15.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply CCX 18.5mm
  • OSB Cdn BC – 3/8
  • OSB Cdn BC – 7/16
  • OSB Cdn BC – 15/32
  • OSB Cdn BC – 1/2
  • OSB Cdn BC – 19/32
  • OSB Cdn BC – 23/32 (T&G)
  • OSB Cdn ON – 7/16
  • OSB Cdn ON – 15/32
  • OSB Cdn ON – 1/2
  • OSB Cdn ON – 5/8 OSB
  • Cdn ON – 3/4 Cdn
  • Cdn Softwood Ply Vanc. 9.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply Vanc. 12.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply Vanc. 15.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply Vanc. 18.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply Vanc. 15.5mm Select
  • Cdn Softwood Ply TO 9.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply TO 12.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply TO 15.5mm
  • Cdn Softwood Ply TO 18.5mm
To see the full list of Madison’s Lumber Reporter weekly data coverage going back several decades, please go HERE or HERE.

Prices of most softwood lumber and panel commodity items remained relatively even; some were up and some were down a little bit. Sales volumes remained lower than historically normal for the time of year.

Expectations for the usual spring building season remained — once again — in the future. It seemed like the recent influx of European wood imports was starting to slow down.

Sales of panels continued to flounder compared to lumber and studs, though Oriented Strand Board seemed to gain some traction.

In the week ending April 14, 2023, the price of benchmark softwood lumber item Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) was US$350 mfbm, which is up by +$15 or +4%, from the previous week when it was US$335 mfbm, said weekly forest products industry price guide newsletter Madison’s Lumber Reporter.

This is down by -$23, or -6%, from one month ago when it was $373.

real spring construction and resultant demand for building materials remained elusive.

Many buyers considered Easter weekend the latest important litmus test, and after seeing steady numbers from the sawmills, decided to secure more coverage.
Madison’s Lumber Reporter

Sales across the entire North American solid wood commodities market continued to sputter to life, and US Western S-P-F was no exception. Availability appeared abundant as buyers stuck to their hand-to-mouth purchases, but mounting reports of tightening supply at the sawmill level belied the notion of a vastly oversupplied market.

Retailers were busier than in recent weeks, noting that the counteroffers accepted by mills have recently slimmed down to $5-$10 at most. The influx of European spruce seemed to be waning lately, but there was still plenty available at lower price points than domestic wood. Producers maintained two- to three-week order files.

Western S-P-F lumber prices in Canada firmed up for the most part as players returned to their desks after the Easter holiday long weekend. While Monday was quiet, sales gained momentum from Tuesday-on. Players continued to report a broad perception of oversupply from the view of buyers, however.

While sales volumes showed a promising direction, demand had yet to equalize with supply and reach a pace typically associated with the spring season. Secondary suppliers continued to field good takeaway from buyers looking for last-minute coverage. Two-week order files at sawmills were the norm.

Buyers of Kiln-Dried Douglas-fir commodities continued to play it cautiously, sticking to short-term coverage of their most immediate inventory-needs. Apparently, some sawmills were having trouble restocking on fibre as log sellers boosted their asking prices, and kept shopping around until they found someone willing to go higher on purchase price. For their part, producers upped their asking prices on narrows a jot and held the line on less-popular wides for the time being. At sawmills, dimension lead times were still into the week of April 24th.
Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Madison’s Benchmark Top-Six Softwood Lumber and Panel Prices: Monthly Averages
Compared to the same week last year, when it was US$1,096 mfbm, the price of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) for the week ending April 14, 2023 this price was down by -$746, or -68%.
Compared to two years ago when it was $1,130, that week’s price is down by -$780, or -69%.