Lumber Prices Drop on Shortened Sawmill Order Files

Western S-P-F producers in the United States reduced asking prices on some of their more commonly-traded commodities in an effort to entice circumspect customers.
And in Canada, while prices remained wildly variable and confusing to buyers, downward pressure was evident for Western S-P-F lumber items.

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchark Dimension Softwood Lumber Western SPF 2x4 Price APR 2022

As we approach the time of year when most of the largest-volume lumber customers — the major US home building companies — have made their purchases for expected projects in the busy spring construction season, lumber demand usually softens. Last year this did not happen, but this year it looks like some of the usual seasonal cycles might be returning.

Check back with the Madison’s website often for the latest softwood lumber prices and market updates.

After several weeks staying relatively flat, for the week ending April 1, 2022 the price of benchmark softwood lumber item Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) was down -$107 or -8% from the previous week, at US$1,303 mfbm, said weekly forest products industry price guide newsletter Madison’s Lumber Reporter. That week’s price is down by -$80, or -6% from one month ago when it was $1,383.

Burgeoning construction activity continued to spread upward from the US South as spring weather descended on the higher latitudes of North America.

Buyers remained cautious as cracks started to show in price levels this week, especially for dimension lumber.”

— Madison’s Lumber Reporter

Players in the United States reported a widening of prices in the already-established two-tiered market for Western S-P-F. Sawmills showed more cash wood availability and got aggressive with their pricing, but buyers weren’t impressed with the typical four- to six-week shipping timelines. Order files at sawmills were only around two weeks out.

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchmark green and KD Construction Framing Dimension Softwood Lumber Prices APR 2022

In Canada it was narrows which were the most affected by dropping prices, while that of low grades were comparatively firm. Western Canadian sawmills showed more availability as April approached, with order files listed anywhere from prompt to four weeks out..

Prices of Eastern S-P-F commodities continued to erode this week amid wary activity from buyers. Eastern Canadian suppliers reported better sales volumes as the week wore on and numbers drifted down to levels that drew some hesitant customers back to the table. Ongoing transportation issues kept traders on their toes.
One veteran player noted that the inability of Canadian mills to ship on time has pushed a growing contingent of US buyers to source more readily available products, including SYP from Southern states and European spruce coming into US ports.”

— Madison’s Lumber Reporter

Madison’s Benchmark Top-Six Softwood Lumber and Panel Prices: Monthly Averages

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchark green and KD Construction Framing Dimension Softwood Lumber and Panel Prices APR 2022

When compared to the same week last year, when it was $1,060, for the week ending April 1, 2022 the price of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 is up by +$243, or +23%.
Compared to two years’ ago when it was US$310 mfbm, this price is up by +$993, or +320%.