Random Lengths concludes industry consultation, will make several changes to price guide

Industry feedback showed support for changes to Canadian plywood, industrial lumber, and tweaks to related footnotes. Changes to the price guide will go into effect in early May.

Random Lengths has collected feedback from the industry on pricing methodologies for Random Lengths and Random Lengths International as part of its annual methodology review.

In addition to the open consultation, we proposed several changes to various parts of the lumber and panel price guides. Industry feedback voiced strong support for the creation of a Vancouver assessed price in Canadian plywood, and for the elimination of three moulding prices in the S2S moulding and shop market assessment group.

Feedback regarding other proposed changes, including to Southern Pine low-grade boards, veneer, and the shakes and shingles market, was mixed or inadequate, and the decision was made to table those changes until industry response proves more conclusive.

The annual open consultation allowed for industry feedback from February 13 through March 13. This annual review seeks to ensure that our methodologies reflect the physical market, in compliance with the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO) principles for price reporting agencies. This includes all elements of our pricing process, our price specifications, and publication frequency.

Respondents overwhelmingly favored the proposed changes to Canadian plywood. Beginning in May, Random Lengths will begin assessing a base Vancouver price that will be used to drive reported prices in the four westernmost Canadian markets of Vancouver, Calgary/Edmonton, Regina, and Winnipeg. “I think that by utilizing two base points, Vancouver for Western Canada and Toronto for Eastern Canada, plywood pricing in Canada may be more reflective of markets,” wrote one respondent. Added another, “I’m happy to see the changes you proposed. As a western Canadian buyer, having plywood prices based on a western base would be helpful.”

Random Lengths will also add the price for Canadian Spruce Plywood 3/8-inch delivered Vancouver to the Canadian Spruce Plywood section of Midweek. The first assessment will be published on May 2, 2023.

Likewise, feedback regarding the elimination of three moulding prices in the industrial lumber section of the price guide was near-unanimous among both producers and buyers who responded to the consultation. The last assessments for these items will be published on April 27, 2023. The discontinued prices are:

  • LBME Inland kiln-dried ponderosa pine shop mldg 4/4 std s2s fob mill
  • LCSD Inland kiln-dried ponderosa pine shop mldg 1-5/16-inch s2s fob mill
  • LCSE Inland kiln-dried ponderosa pine shop mldg 1-9/16-inch s2s fob mill

Random Lengths will also be tweaking several footnotes in the price guide when changes take effect. These include:

  • Replacing the current Moulding&Btr footnote with “Includes some C&Btr.”
  • Removing the “TOFC shipments to Midwest and East” footnote from the shingles section.
  • Adjusting a portion of the Canadian Panel Price Methodology explainer to reflect the addition of a new base Vancouver assessment.

Random Lengths received mixed or minimal feedback regarding other proposed changes in the price guide, including to Southern Pine #3 boards and the shakes and shingles markets. While initial input suggested several changes that would clarify or update reporting in those markets, consensus was elusive following the open consultation.

Additionally, Random Lengths will not be adding dried veneer to the price guide this cycle. While several respondents were in favor of adding a dried price, the sentiment was not universal. “The proposal to add a dried veneer price to (Random Lengths) is not required and unwarranted, as all veneer peelers and drying facilities will have different drying adders due to each operation’s manufacturing costs,” said one respondent. “Different grades of dry veneer require different adders based on the quality of the grade, so one collective dry adder price doesn’t make sense.”

General feedback regarding the western veneer market sector varied widely, from adding new assessed prices to ceasing reporting of veneer altogether. Veneer continues to be a source of various complaints among the industry, and Random Lengths remains committed to working with stakeholders to best report this vital piece of the market.

To see all Fastmarkets RISI pricing methodology and specification documents see here.

To see all Fastmarkets RISI pricing notices please see here.

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