April 2017 – Lumber Update

By Paul Rogers,

The month of March brought a correction of sorts to February’s rally, as prices initially flattened for several weeks and then began slowly eroding as buyers chose to stay on the sidelines, working off their inventories. Regionally, sales had been lackluster against what had been anticipated and, with ample supply at all levels, a little anxiety kicked in as fears of how far the market would correct concerned all who had bought higher priced stock at the rally. Fresh orders did work their way in to dealer yards however, as trucking issues (mostly road closures and a lack of rigs) blew out lead times, forcing many to turn to distribution in order to cover holes that needed to be filled. This was a boon for wholesalers, as it gave them a quick outlet for their depreciating material. Trucking issues have since subsided and mills, now running thin with their order files, are looking for business. However, they are essentially in a standoff with buyers, who are keeping one eye on the deflating prices and the other on their stock piles, hoping to buy at lower numbers if they just wait a little longer. Despite what the numbers are showing, it’s a volatile market that, as of print, is keeping numbers sideways to slightly down. Buyers know that, in the face of the final determinations of the Softwood Lumber Agreement countervailing and anti-dumping duties (which the U. S. Department of Commerce is set to announce on April 24th) and, coupled with the peak of spring approaching, that they cannot be foolish to wait for a bottom before they make a purchase. This behavior is likely what will attribute to a sideways market for this month. Nonetheless, please keep in close contact with your Shepley representative should you have any questions or concerns regarding this market.

It’s been our experience that, sometimes, too much information can be a bad thing. All too often, we may get asked a simple question and then get caught up with trying to gather every shred of information that we can possibly get our hands on for a topic (usually in the form of publications, links, videos and literature) and then pass it along, losing sight of the original request and subsequently blinding our subject with information overload (but thinking that we’ve done good). As customers, we need to remember that your time is valuable (and you surely have a million things already on your mind) so adding to the burden isn’t necessarily good customer service. Listening and understanding your request is where we have to be on point in order to best service you, and we are always diligently trying to do just that. We are not in the business to give you complicated, befuddling answers so, if the opportunity arises, please reach out to us so that we can clear up a matter for you. For instance, we understand that many manufacturer’s installation and care instructions are intense, misleading and sometimes even contradictory but we know how critical it is for you to clearly understand them. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us, either by phone, text or e-mail: we promise to promptly obtain for you the clear and succinct information that you need to get back on the job and get it done right.

With spring upon us and with what appears to be a good year ahead, we are excited to show you all that we can do to help enhance your business. We hope that we have earned our place as your number one supplier of building materials but, if we aren’t there yet, please let us know so that we can get to work on it. Thank you for your business!


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