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Treated sawn softwood – remarkable rise to dominance

At some point in the next few months, H2F, the treated and seasoned sawn structural softwood will stand alone as the dominant timber product in the Australian market. Already accounting for a roughly equal proportion of total sawn softwood sales, alongside the untreated product, sales of H2F amounted to 762,634 m3 for the year-ended January 2017.

Indeed, those sales are a little less than 2,000 m3 more than those of the untreated Structural <120 mm product that once was the utterly dominant sawn softwood product.

The chart below shows a decade of reported H2F sales, commencing in February 2007. It looks a busy chart, but it serves a purpose, showing a product whose sales have more than tripled over the decade.

fig12

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

Like all building products, H2F has experienced downturns in demand associated with turndown’s in housing construction and also, through the GFC. In that period however, H2F’s emergence was firmed up, as its declines were just half those of the non-treated products.

Post the GFC, once economic activity recommenced, the subsequent dwelling approvals and construction malaise saw sales of H2F move largely sideways until the beginning of 2013. The last four years of sales growth have been little short of stellar.

For the year-ended January 2013, total H2F sales were reported at 371,918 m3. Over the four years hence, sales have more than doubled. Additionally, H2F accounted for just 16.2% of total sales of domestically produced sawn softwood products for the 2013 year in question. That has risen to 24.3% for the year-ended January 2017.

There are multiple features of interest in this data. The sales growth itself is relevant, but so too is the context of the rise competing with another softwood product, manufactured by many of the same companies. The rise has occurred in a period of unparalleled production. Without that production pressure, it would be of use to know if the product would have fared as well, or perhaps, even better?

We cannot know the answer to this question, but we can easily assert that betting against further rises in the market share of H2F would be brave, regardless of the state of the housing market.

Posted Date: March 30, 2017

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