January 2018 Lumber Market Update – The Platinum Tape, a Blog by Kelly Fox

Friends and Neighbors,

If you are like me and you lay awake at night thinking about commodity lumber, then please read further.  If you do not pay attention to lumber pricing but you have it in your mind to expand your living space or build your dream home this year, then you really should read further. With the unprecedented hurricanes/ flooding along the gulf coast, wild fires in California, and the nationwide building boom still raging, supplies will struggle to keep up with demand.

Right now, we are experiencing shortages on commodity panels like OSB because some mills are off the market (OTM) and others that have product cannot get a rail car spotted.  Angeles Millwork placed an order for a truckload of OSB three weeks ago and we should see it by the end of this week.  Without even seeing this new stock on the ground, we are placing purchase orders for Hartnagels and Angeles Millwork that should arrive in early March.  We are taking this position for two reasons, first and foremost is to protect our supply in and through the building season.  The second reason is to do everything we can to help protect our customers from commodity traders that will push prices on OSB up over $20 a sheet in the near future.  CDX panels are facing the same challenges with order files pushed into late February.

Outside of the panel inventory, lumber prices are following much the same trajectory.  Most of the Douglas Fir fiber we supply comes from the Oregon coast and is not immediately impacted by the counter veiling duty issues.  The supply problem comes from directing materials out of our markets and into the rebuilding areas.  One area of particular concern is the wide stock, 2×8 through 2×12.  On a percentage basis, pricing increased from week to week by more than double digits with some lengths moving up by more than $90/MBF (per thousand board foot).  The narrows, 2×4 and 2×6, also saw significant gains with pricing moving up by as much as $35/MBF in some lengths.

As of right now, I have not seen any price increases on engineered word products (EWP) but I do expect them to follow as they will run into the same supply and demand issues related to OSB and veneers used to manufacture i-Joist and laminated beams.

Moving out of the winter and into the spring, we are trying very hard to get a clearer picture of what is happening with commodity markets so that we can better serve and protect our customers.  When things change significantly one way or another, I will write about it in this blog and through our social media platforms to keep you all updated.  This season has the promise to be very active so please stay tuned.



Kelly Fox
CEO Lumber Traders Inc.