Lumber Prices Rise Yet More as Demand Returns

September 3, 2021 — Customers who had been waiting on the sidelines since spring, to see how far down lumber prices would go, returned to the scene and booked significant purchases in the week before the Labour Day long weekend.
Sawmills gleefully extended order files as secondary suppliers — who had been running on lean inventories themselves — did not necessarily have specific items on hand to sell on the spot. Construction projects which had been put on hold roared back to life as builders rushed to complete them before winter starts.

Western Spruce-Pine-FIr KD 2x4 #2&Btr prices AUG 2021

Continuing gains from the previous week, for the week of September 3, 2021 the price of Western S-P-F 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) was US$430 mfbm. This is up by +$10, or +2%, from the previous week when it was $420. That week’s price was down by -$17, or -4%, from one month ago when it was $447.

The unspoken consensus that a price bottom had been reached was apparent from sawmills all the way to purchasers.

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchark green and KD Construction Framing Dimension Softwood Lumber Prices SEPT 2021

Most players agreed prices had generally hit bottom, though the real proof will come post-Labour Day.

— Madison’s Lumber Reporter

There was more energy to Western S-P-F sales according to veteran traders in the US. One large sawmill apparently had turned to offshore markets, selling virtually their entire September WSPF inventory. Sawmill order files ranging between one and three weeks were reported; however were producer- and item-dependent. 
Canadian Western S-P-F sales were marked by a tone of cautious expectation, with all eyes on the imminent Labour Day long weekend and the pace-setting effect it usually has on solid wood commodities. Buyers continued to focus on short-term volumes to keep their inventories from total depletion as they tried to predict where price levels will end.

Monday started off with a bang again for Canadian Eastern S-P-F sales as volumes improved, prices continued to firm up, and most counter-offers were rejected by sawmills. With each passing day more buyers decided to jump into the fray as they sensed the market changing direction, thus attempted to get in at or near the price bottom.

— 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 SEPT 2021

When compared to the same week last year, of $966, the price of Western S-P-F 2×4 for the week of September 3 was down by -$536, or -55%.
Compared to two years’ ago when it was $370, that week’s price was up by +$60, or +16%.