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Not all plywoods is plywoods

Like many other products, the import and export codes for ‘Plywood’ are more numerous than seems imaginable. That can make analysis difficult, but what makes the ‘Plywood’ codes especially tricky, is they include other products, like CLT, GLT and LVL – but the codes don’t tell us that!

In last month’s issue of Statistics Count we provided a detailed breakdown of the plywood imports. In this issue we examine the ‘Other’ category, where many of the ‘non-plywood’ products are reported.

The first clue we get that the Plywood codes are not reserved for Plywood alone is that the 4412 category of imports covers ‘Plywood, Veneer Panels, Similar Laminated Wood’.

Here we can see the bewildering number of codes and their recent trade experience.

 

4412: All Products Year-ending Comparison (m3 & %)

 

20M07

21M07

% Change

4412.31.00.17

9,604

5,453

-43.22%

4412.31.00.18

8,000

13,406

67.58%

4412.31.00.19

5,206

15,205

192.07%

4412.31.00.52

386

416

7.58%

4412.31.00.53

2,054

2,385

16.11%

4412.31.00.54

17,856

11,718

-34.38%

4412.33.00.60

11,394

11,189

-1.80%

4412.33.00.61

64,865

85,759

32.21%

4412.33.00.62

20,182

27,065

34.11%

4412.33.00.70

4,103

3,845

-6.29%

4412.33.00.72

19,098

18,173

-4.85%

4412.34.00.80

933

407

-56.33%

4412.34.00.82

1,322

1,457

10.27%

4412.34.00.92

89

108

21.46%

4412.39.00.10

16,455

22,688

37.88%

4412.39.00.11

20,614

21,971

6.59%

4412.39.00.12

53,546

70,325

31.34%

4412.94.30.26

2,522

1,410

-44.11%

4412.94.90.27

12,525

14,610

16.64%

4412.99.29.35

2,111

279

-86.76%

4412.99.31.36

12,392

14,624

18.01%

4412.99.39.37

17,845

24,179

35.49%

4412.99.91.41

31,269

43,506

39.14%

4412.99.99.42

87,341

112,534

28.84%

Source: ABS, derived

image036

Of the three biggest volume categories, 4412.99.99.42 is the largest at 112,534m3 year-ending July 2021.

However, this is the category which is the most opaque as it is simply described as ‘Other’.

So, technically the only definitive conclusion which can be drawn from the description is that it is other than plywood. In addition, anecdotal information from importers indicates that this category is used to import such products as LVL and CLT which fit within the ‘Veneer Panels, Similar Laminated Wood’ of the overall 4412 category.

Imports under this code have grown consistently over the past 12 months.

image038 

It is really only when you look at the country of origin that you can gain some insight into the possible product composition, and even then, a forensic approach is required.

image040 

The data shows us that, in terms of countries of origin, the big movers have been Finland (+76%), USA (+39%) and China (+58%) for product likely to be LVL. Germany (+47%) and Poland (+29%) could be either LVL or CLT/GLT.

A truly forensic approach to these imports goes further however, drilling into ports of despatch to analyse the likely production facilities from which imports are derived.

 

The complexity becomes greater – but so does the opportunity to identify the relevant products – because further analysis involves determining by average monthly import prices what specific product is being imported.

 

That is of some assistance, but it does mean that for products like specific LVL and CLT, these methods remain estimates. In the short term, there is not much can be done about that.

And there is more complexity still because this ‘Plywood-not-plywood’ import code is not the only one under which these products can be imported. Some are imported as Builders’ Joinery under the Wooden Posts & Beams category for example.

 

Unfortunately, market opacity continues for many products, especially emerging products like CLT that are yet to be given their own specific ‘home’ in the trade system.

Posted Date: October 8, 2021

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