North American western sheathing prices crack amid fewer sales

Western CD prices dropped in mid-March this year for the first time since early January

Prices of Western CD, the most consumed and volatile panels produced in that market, dropped in mid-March for the first time since early January. Over that nine-week period, the average of the eight reported CD prices increased a total of $44 – a 7% jump.

In the latest price cycle, the average of those CD prices combined reached a high of $662 on March 10, which was $46 higher than the 10-year average ending at the close of 2022. Remove the historically high prices of 2021 and 2022, and the most recent average high of $662 is $155 higher than that eight-year average of all reported CD prices.

Since 2000, March weekly gains in CD prices have barely outnumbered those weeks where declines occurred, so there is no clear indication as to the likely direction prices will go in March. Like the current month, April does not offer any clear demarcation between the number of weeks showing gains and those with losses, with prices going up about the same number as they go down.

One of the factors holding back CD prices from gaining strength currently is the weather. Two of the prominent consuming regions for Western plywood – California and the Northeast – were doused with heavy rain and snow in recent weeks, reducing buying activity in those regions.

A driver that provided momentum for CD prices to begin moving higher back in January was the high volume of CCX panels sold at the end of last year. Sales of that panel into Canada helped mills bolster order files and subsequently raise CD prices. As of late, the currency exchange rate between the two countries and limited Canadian demand has constricted the amount of CCX exported into Canada.

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