Market Update: Commodity Lumber Market Trends

In recent weeks, the commodity panel markets have experienced a softening, with prices declining amid growing uncertainties. Recent economic developments—ranging from fluctuating interest rates to a slowdown in new home starts and existing home sales—have tempered the momentum in commodity lumber and panel sales.

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Despite the cautious market sentiment, the recent drop in western plywood prices has caught the eye of some buyers, particularly rail customers in the Midwest and Northeast, who are capitalizing on this year’s lowest prices for 15/32 4 ply.

This lull raises questions about the true state of future demand as we approach May and the typical surge in seasonal demand. Will the market shake off its lethargy, or are we settling into a steady yet unremarkable pace of building?

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In regions like the Western U.S. and British Columbia, high fiber costs continue to pressure sawmills and plywood plants, with current market conditions and softer prices tightening the squeeze. Yet, 15/32 4 ply western plywood currently stands out as a market value compared to its Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) counterparts.

The commodity market remains highly sensitive, with buyers quick to sideline if they detect price weaknesses, contributing to potential volatility. Nonetheless, some customers report steady activity in the field, with prospects for May looking promising. With commodity lumber and panel prices appearing attractively reasonable, opportunities for buyers are emerging, though only time will reveal the true market trajectory.


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