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Wood Panel Production Up, Imports Down as Consumption Falls

Production of wood panels (plywood, particleboard and medium density fibreboard) increased in 2013-14. However imports and consumption of wood based panel products appear to have fallen over the last two financial years, according to the ABARES Australian Forest & Wood Products Statistics (AFWPS).

While production rose on the prior year by 50,000m3 in 2013-14 and reached 1.48 million m3, consumption is reported to have slipped 3% to 1.71 million m3, down from 1.76 million m3 the prior year.

The chart below, extracted from the AFWPS for the March and June quarters of 2014 (released November 2014), shows the last six financial years of consumption experience.

Source: ABARES

Despite the expansion in housing approvals and commencements experienced in Australia over the last two years, ABARES reports that over that period, production and consumption are both below their decadal averages.

Focusing on production, the data shows Australia’s plywood production over the decade to the end of June 2014 declined by just 1,000m3 or an average 0.1% per annum. Over the same period, particleboard production slipped 193,000m3 per annum or an average 2.0% per annum.

It is medium density fibreboard (MDF) production that has experienced the largest declines, falling by 320,000m3 per annum over the decade, or a significant 5.0% per annum, on average.

To underscore this, MDF accounted for 39.9% of total wood panel production in 2003-04, but slipped to 33.3% of the total in 2013-14.

Australia’s wood panels production experience for the decade is detailed in the following chart.

Source: ABARES

Considering the production of wood panels modestly increased in 2013-14, the decline in consumption must have been booked by a shift in international trade. The data reported by ABARES bears this out.

In total, imports of the three major grades of wood panels rose by 19,600 m3 or 4.6% on the prior year, while exports rose by a very large 134.8% to reach 213,000 m3.

According to the figures recorded by ABARES, in 2013-14, consumption of these three major grades consisted of production totaling 1.475 million m3, plus imports of 449,400 m3 less exports of 213,000m3. The aggregate apparent consumption function was 1.711million m3, of which domestic production accounted for 86.2% of the total.

To go to the ABARES website to download a the latest edition of the Australian Forest & Wood Products Statistics Click here 

Posted Date: November 26, 2014

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