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Imports lift across the board


Imports of nearly all wood products have increased over the last year as global supply chains rush to meet explosive demand in major markets, including Australia.

In some respects acting as a proxy for other structural elements, imports of ‘Builders’ Joinery’ that includes Posts and Beams and therefore incorporates Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) have expanded 5.1% by value over the last year, lifting to AUD429.9 million year-ended August. That headline number masks the details for the main grades however, which can be seen in the chart below.

The chart shows the annualised value of the major Builders’ Joinery items.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.



Line colour

YE Aug ‘20


YE Aug ‘21


% Change

Wooden Doors





Wooden Posts & Beams (inc. LVL & I-Beams)





Assembled Wooden Multilayer Floor Panels





Other Wooden Multilayer Floor Panels (excl Bamboo)





Other Cellular Panels (Not I-Beams, Bamboo)






As can be observed, while some of the Builders’ Joinery products have grown sharply, others have fallen just as sharply, by value at least.

The increase in the value of Wooden Posts & Beams is of particular interest because of the extent to which this includes the majority of Australia’s supply of LVL and other structural engineered wood products.

Historically, the market has been dominated by US suppliers, whose presence was stable over the last year, but did not grow as the US market soaked up everything in sight. The chart here shows that growth over the last year was driven from Russia, New Zealand and China.

The persistently waning influence of the USA is highlighted, as are the importance of New Zealand and latterly, Russia, to total local supply.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.



YE Aug-20

YE Aug-21

% change

























 New Zealand












Changing speed to some of the other product imports, tropical species Mouldings, which includes Merbau for decking lifted a pretty modest 1.5% to 87,451 m3. A small rise, but a fairly large volume, nonetheless. Still, that was dwarfed by the 190,429 m3 of softwood mouldings (up 0.2% year-ended August), a market now dominated by China, which landed 104,212 m3 or 54.7% of the total.

Imports of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) totalled 29,777m3 up 20.3% year-ended August as the major supplies continued to come from Germany and Romania, but that news was completely overwhelmed by the large and persistent increases in total imports of particleboard.

Total particleboard imports (inclusive of OSB) lifted 32.9% year-ended August, reaching 99,995 m3 with a wide range of countries providing supply. The green grade below is the OSB volume, while the ‘raw’ panels are in red and the melamine covered panels are in blue.



To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here. 


Although less sharp, the 10.4% increase in the importation of Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) was also noticeable, with imports reaching 186,959 m3 year-ended August. The big mover in terms of supply has been China, for both surface covered and hardboard grades.

Although imports are still off their peaks – and are unlikely to reach those levels – the chart shows the lift in imports of the surface covered MDF in blue, rising 24.0% to 54,720 m3 and in red, the rise of 9.1% in hardboard to 59,234 m3 over the year-ended August.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.


In a strong market, Australia’s reliance on imports to support local production has rarely been as significant.


Posted Date: November 4, 2021

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