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Sawn softwood sales up 0.1% YE Feb ‘15

Registering a small 0.1% increase on the prior year, sales of domestic sawn softwood reached 2,720,524 m3 for the year-ending February 2016, rising less than 2,000 m3 compared with the prior corresponding period. Small upwards variations in participation in the monthly sawn softwood survey over the year mean that total sales probably declined over the year. This is confirmed by industry guidance and is consistent with housing sector data.

Further confirmation of the changes in the size of the market reflected in the Softwood Timber Survey is supplied in the chart below. February 2016 saw the highest ever reported sales, with the total spiking to 267,098 m3. In a weaker total market, this was 24.5% higher than in February 2015.


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

It is notable that year-end sales have grown for each of the last five months. Not all of that is related to new participants in the Softwood Timber Survey.

Delving deeper into the data, sales growth for the year-ended February 2016, compared with the prior year, continued to be strongest in the Packaging (+15.28%) and H2F (+14.41%) grades.

The two charts below, assembled from the data available on the FWPA Data Dashboard, show the changing proportions of sales across all of the grades. Smaller volumes have been wrapped up into ‘Other’.



Because the two years were just 0.1% different in volume sold, the proportional representation of the grades in each year is more likely to provide clarity on the changing make-up of the nation’s softwood timber sales.

The decline in Structural <120 sales is proportionally consistent with the rise in H2F sales for instance. The importance of packaging, or at least its representation in the survey, has grown by 3% in just a single year – a large move by any measure. These are the major developments.

Whether the current data will be consistent over the next year depends on participation being stable. With approximately 90% of all softwood timber sales recorded in the survey, stability will deliver data of continuous value to FWPA members and stakeholders.


Posted Date: April 26, 2016

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