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Untreated grades hold their own but treated growth strongest

Sales of domestically sawn softwood products are at record levels, and growth is strongest for the treated products, but still, top place is held by untreated structural products. The untreated ‘Structural <120 mm’ grade saw sales total 760,460 m3 for the year-ended April, up 2.3% on the prior year. Meantime, faster growing ‘Treated Structural <120 mm’ saw sales rise 7.2% to 744,757 m3.

Those who think back to earlier editions of Statistics Count may recall that we called the dominance of the treated product ‘inevitable’. We probably hold to that view, but we don’t have a date in mind just now.

We can see the importance of the structural grades in the chart below, specifically in orange and pink. The pink area shows the fast growth in sales of treated structural grades, but the base in orange is the untreated structural grades.


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

There is an interesting difference for the larger structural products – those greater than 120 mm diameter.

Although they are difficult to observe in the chart, sales of untreated ‘Structural >120 mm’ rose 38.0% to 70,069 m3 over the year-ended April 2018, while their treated cousin saw sales decline almost 19% to 57,924 m3. 

This is not just a matter of market demand, it is also a question of best returns and also the suitability of logs available to sawmills. In a market where structural timber supply has been under pressure, it seems that for the treated grades in particular, it has made sense to reduce the emphasis on larger timbers – giving that market up to untreated products – and concentrating on the growth available in the main structural market.

Posted Date: June 28, 2018

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