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USA: 2x4 prices jump well above 900 US$ mark

17.09.2020 − 

The sharp increase observed in prices on the US sawn softwood markets since June 2020 was still underway at the beginning of September. The average price established by Madison’s Lumber for the benchmark grade SPF KD R/L 2x4 #2&Btr. of 940 US$/1,000 bdft ex works on 28 August was another 90 US$ or almost 11 % higher than the week before in which the price had already by 104 US$/1,000 bdft. The current price is meanwhile 154 % higher than a year ago.

Driven by brisk new-building and renovation activity in both the USA and Canada, North American sawmills have been unable to promptly satisfy the demand for sawnwood for a number of months now. In the USA in the twelve months up to and including July, the housing starts increased by 22.6 % against the adjusted figures for June to 1.496m units. In June, the housing starts had exceeded the previous month’s figure by 17.5 %. The growth already noticeable for some considerable time hence gathered pace from June to July. Delivery periods of 1-2 months have even built up for commodities too in the meantime. Market players believe the long lead times and the uncertainty concerning the supply of sawnwood, however, could induce quite a number of customers to defer construction projects originally scheduled for autumn to the new year instead because adequate material might not be able to be procured in time for the scheduled building dates. For this reason, it is considered possible that the state of the market, generally regarded as totally overheated, could cool down even before the end of this month.

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