Import value continued to track down in January

The value of wood products imports continued to decline in January, with annualised import values falling to $1.896 billion, down 15.7% on the year-ended January 2019, recording a thirteenth successive monthly decline. Feeding into lower import value, January saw a monthly value of $0.164 billion, down 13.9% on the prior January.

The chart below shows the clear decline in the total value of imports, coming after a sustained run of increasing imports.


Fig. 13

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Because some grades only have import value data (no volumes are provided), value is the only way to provide comparative analysis between grades or types of imports, over time.

The second chart shows the value of imports, by grade, for the year-ended January, for each of the last seven years. More than the previous chart, this shows six years of continuous growth, followed by the most recent year’s evident decline.


Fig. 14

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At a comparative level, it is observable that import experiences have been a little patchy between the different major products, at least when it comes to analysis by value. The table below shows the details of the differences for each of the last two years, and the chart that follows takes the same data above and presents it in a manner more easily comparable.

What the data points to is that sawn softwood imports (4407.1) were significantly lower in value terms (down 42.1%) over the year-ended January, with the only other product coming close to that level of decline by value being particleboard imports (4410), the value of which was lower by 38.0%.

The only product group that recorded growth over the year was sawn hardwood, the value of imports for which rose 6.9%, but remain comparatively small.

Notably smaller declines were recorded for the import value of plywood (4412), the second largest import line by value, and builders’ joinery (4418), the largest import line by value. Combined, these two categories accounted for 49.0% of total import value over the year-ended January 2020, up from 43.7%  a year earlier.



YE Jan '19

YE Jan '20

% Change



















































Fig. 15

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