Market Update: Stability and Cautious Optimism

Over the past 60 days, the plywood market has maintained a steady course. While uneventful, this stability has been instrumental in keeping prices consistent and gradually on the rise.

It appears we have struck a fair balance between supply and demand. Throughout the summer and early fall, customers intentionally kept their inventories lean, opting to purchase measured quantities of product each week. So far, this strategy has served buyers well, even though prices have been slowly inching upward since late summer — emphasis on ‘slowly.’ As we step into the winter season, it seems buyers are not planning any drastic changes, at least for the moment.

In the western market, OSB products have returned to a state of tight supply after experiencing some volatile fluctuations in the summer and early fall. OSB buyers are once again purchasing conservatively, sticking to the essentials. Southern Yellow Pine plywood isn’t vastly different from Western Plywood; it has maintained steady, if unspectacular, performance throughout the fall.

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Looking ahead to 2024, most customers are cautiously optimistic despite the numerous uncertainties facing our country. Both internal and external events could sway the market’s direction. It’s worth noting that mortgage rates have been gradually decreasing in the past 60 to 90 days, with the Federal Reserve signaling the likelihood of rate cuts next year. This shift is expected to benefit our industry, and it may encourage some fence-sitting buyers to make their move. That alone gives us reason for optimism about the coming year.

In the LVL sector, activity has picked up over the past 60 days, with some producers anticipating a stronger 2024. Home centers and treaters have remained active buyers as the year draws to a close, and these sectors are poised to remain essential components of the commodity lumber and panel markets.


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