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Sawn softwood exports fall 4.3% YE Feb 17

Australia’s sawn softwood exports declined by 4.3% in the year-ended February 2017, falling to 272,591 m3. Always small, falling exports are in part a result of the very strong domestic demand for sawn softwood. However, as the data shows, there is strong underlying demand for Australian softwood, from a small number of countries, dominated by Taiwan, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

The chart below, supplied by IndustryEdge, shows Australia’s sawn softwood exports, by country over the last two years.

fig 02

Source: ABS & IndustryEdge

Although the chart only alludes to it, exports in February totaled 17,897 m3, down a significant 18.3% on exports in February 2016. After the seasonal slump in January, exports rebound, but this year, have only recovered modestly. 

After 2016 saw remarkably stable monthly export volumes, it is too soon to call a year-defining slide in exports, but the next month’s data may well invite that call.

In the last year, supplies into China have literally halved, with exports falling to 53,377 m3 for the year-ended February 2017. The other country displayed in the chart that experienced falls was Saudi Arabia, exports to which fell 12.2% compared with the prior year.

All of the other nations displayed experienced growth. The most significant of which was the 20.9% increase in exports to Taiwan, which received 86,574 m3 of Australia’s sawn softwood exports and now accounts for 31.8% of total exports.

Thailand experienced an almost 60% increase in exports from Australia, with its annual total rising to 38,256 m3, accounting for 14.0% of exports. China’s receipts still saw it receive 19.6% of total exports.

Falling sawn softwood exports are, frankly, no surprise in a booming domestic market, where virtually every cubic metre of domestically produced wood (and then some) can easily find a home. For the time being, anyway.


Posted Date: May 2, 2017

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