Imports of sawn softwood down again

Falling to 591,029 m3 for the year-ended November 2016, imports of saw softwood declined 17.2% on the prior year. The majority of the decline was booked by ‘dressed’ products, imports of which declined a very strong 27.7%, suggesting that imports of higher value products in particular have been replaced by the strongly growing domestic market.

As the table below shows, imports of dressed sawn softwood from Austria and Finland slumped over the year, while other declines were more modest.

Imports of Dressed Sawn Softwood: Country of Origin Year Ending

Country YE Nov ‘15 YE Nov ‘16 % Change
43,863 15,992 -63.7
Estonia 66,969 69,611 +3.9
Finland 36,631 18,139 -50.5
Germany 6,987 4,822 -31.0%
Lithuania 32,154 29,826 -7.2

Soruce: ABS

Of the major countries, only Estonia grew its position in the most recent year, albeit by just 3.9%.

Roughsawn softwood imports fell 6.3% to 151,293 m3 in the year-ended November 2016.

Just two countries dominate the supplies of imported roughsawn softwoods. The Czech Republic saw its position increase 0.4% in the year-ended November 2016, with imports totaling 104,118 m3. By contrast, imports from Germany slumped 35.7% over the same period, falling to 28,907 m3.

More than ever, Australia’s imports of sawn softwood are dominated by the satellite countries of Europe and less by the industrial powerhouses of the European Union and Scandinavia.