October 2014 – Market Update

By Paul Rogers,

September proved to be a mixed month for lumber sales as buyers employed different strategies based on the level of immediate business they were experiencing for their region. Rather unexpectedly, lumber prices maintained throughout the summer and continued to escalate after Labor Day, persuading most buyers into waiting for a retraction (that is, if they had the luxury to do so). In territories such as our own, sales were very strong and so buyers were actively working to cover both immediate and future needs. In addition, traders were advising buyers to plan ahead and cover needs as production at the mill level, although generally good, was out 3-4 weeks due to order files and transportation issues. The old chestnut about compensating for extended lead times due to the lack of drivers and rigs once again proved to be good advice as nothing seemingly arrived as promised. In addition, certain dimensions (such as 2×6) were scarce, so reloads quickly depleted their stores of some of the more common items. As it turned out, a price retraction didn’t happen to any great extent, forcing buyers to buy at market levels and, in turn, keeping the mills content to be firm on their numbers. As we head into October, business is robust for some, strengthening for others, moderate for a few and prices are holding. Predictions are that demand will become stronger, so we can expect to follow this pattern throughout the month and likely into November.

As obvious as it may sound, planning ahead does reduce the effort and expense of the alternative. As Benjamin Franklin so astutely stated, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and it’s certainly true: the short time invested in planning ahead directly correlates to the amount of time (and money) saved on the outcome. As we have all experienced at some time or another, you can spend a far greater amount of time and money searching for something that you need right now as opposed to having the time to wait for it. Rush buying is never a good thing (as the lost opportunity to plan your purchase trumps your ability to buy it to your best advantage) and it rarely satisfies, so please enlist us to help you plan ahead for your upcoming projects. We can advise you of your best options and, in turn, we can obtain for you the best quality and prices you need and have them at the ready when you need them. In markets such as this, there is a lot of reactionary buying taking place and we would like to be here to help you slow things down and get you what you truly need at the best price! Please be sure to consult with your expert Shepley sales person, and thank you for your business!

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