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North American Softwood Lumber Prices Bounce in Early May

May 14, 2019
Author: Keta Kosman

The latest data from May 6 show US construction employment is up significantly. Likewise, the latest update from regional producers is that recent log cost increases in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) require similar increases in manufactured lumber prices. While no one in the North American lumber industry was celebrating sales volumes last week, the resurgence of demand and plumper sawmill order files were encouraging.

Regional Lumber Prices

Prices and sales activity varied but overall, business continued to improve after the recent announcements about significant curtailments by several major sawmill operators in British Columbia.

Wholesaler (net FOB sawmill) prices of green Douglas fir 2x10s #2&Btr skyrocketed the week ending May 3— up +$55, or +16 percent—to $355/MBF. Other, more “standard” product (North American construction framing softwood lumber) prices either remained flat or bounced moderately as buyers and sellers came to some agreement on the supply/demand balance. Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2x4 #2&Btr (RL) FOB sawmill wholesaler prices averaged US$332/MBF—no change from the previous week.

This week's price is -$34, or -9 percent lower than it was one month ago when it was US$366/MBF. Compared to one year ago, prices of this softwood lumber commodity are down -$117, or -26 percent.


Sales volumes of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber in the US continued to ramp up during the week of May 3. However, Western Spruce-Pine-Fir producers in Canada “settled in” after the recent curtailment announcements. Sawmill order files were stuck at around one- to two-weeks, and log decks remained in good shape even though spring breakup still prohibited most harvesting operations.


On-Demand Market Data

Madison’s Lumber Reporter allows customers to tailor an individual weekly lumber report to their own needs. Interactive filters can be saved for quick and easy drill-downs to the exact products you need to make decisions, and these views can be printed and downloaded. Other highlights include:

  • All prices are available on a single screen.
  • A single click takes subscribers to a Product Detail page with two years of price history and the ability to look at pricing in comparison to economic indicators (housing starts, GDP, etc.).
  • Toggle between prices and commentary (commentary and data are matched at every point).
  • The Price Sheet can be filtered, searched and sorted.
  • Comparisons of current week's prices to previous time periods, including one- and two-year rolling averages, are provided.
  • Custom Analysis—comparisons of historical prices for multiple products over a ten-year history—can be performed as needed.
  • The current week's commentary is provided in an easy-to-read narrative format, organized by topic.

Is your current lumber report this easy to use?

View a video demo or visit the website to learn more about Madison's Lumber Reporter.


Madison's Lumber Reporter

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