Dressed sawn softwood imports down 11.4% YE May 2016

Imports of dressed sawn softwood declined 11.4% over the year-ending May 2016, slipping to 636,369 m3. The combined impact of a depreciating Australian Dollar and increasingly competitive domestic production are decreasing the market share of imported products, with both dressed and roughsawn softwood being impacted.

The chart below shows total imports of sawn softwood.


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

The data shows that imports have been declining since mid-2015, turning from a period that was solidly and continuously upwards and appeared to have little end. The correction was abrupt in May 2015 and every month for a year saw lower imports than for the same month in the prior year.

That was until May 2016, when imports of 56.4 km3 surpassed those of May 2015 by 10.4% or 5.3 km3.

The major import grade – dressed sawn softwood – experienced a decline of 10.8% over the full year to the end of May 2016, with imports falling to 220,604 m3. This decline is, as the chart below shows, the major contributing factor in the total import decline.


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

Drilling further into the data on dressed sawn softwood imports, it is clear that after a period of very rapid growth, imports have fallen progressively, but have become very choppy, on a month-by-month basis.

The chart below shows the recent turbidity, with monthly imports over the last year ranging from a low of 9.6 km3 in December 2016 to a high of 24.5 km3 in July 2016.


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

Leaving aside a very small volume of annual supply from the USA (amounting to just 0.054 km3 (that’s 54 m3!) for the year-ending May 2016 and supply from ‘Other’ countries, almost all of Australia’s dressed saw softwood imports come from just six European countries. Imports from each of those countries is detailed in the table below for the last two years-ending May.

Country YE May 2015 (km3) YE May 2016 (km3) % Change
Austria 58.7 24.2 -58.8
Estonia 56.4 66.8 +18.4
Finland 40.0 22.4 -44.0
Germany 3.1 7.1 +129.0
Lithuania 33.4 28.7 -14.1
Sweden 44.3 63.2 +42.7


Other than the very small volumes and substantial import growth delivered by Germany, the data shows that supplies from Estonia (up 10.4 km3) and from Sweden (up 18.9 km3) are the only countries to have grown their imports into Australia over the year-ended May 2016.

On the flipside, imports from Austria (down 34.5 km3), Finland (down 17.6 km3) and Lithuania (down 4.7 km3) all saw their supplies to Australia decline over the year.


A variety of factors impact all trade results, not least are domestic conditions in the supplier countries, and of course, conditions within the European Union. However, what seems true overall is that Australia’s depreciated currency has seen the volume of dressed sawn softwood imports fall.