Sawn softwood sales up 12.6% year-ended September 2016

Domestically produced sawn softwood sales rose 12.6% year-ended September 2016, hitting 2,931,136 m3. This is more than 300,000 m3 higher than the prior year, with expectations that coming months will see the 3 million m3 mark exceeded for the first time. Although there is growth across all of the grades, it is H2F (treated structural framing timber) that has experienced the highest growth.

The chart below shows total domestic sales on a month-by-month basis, as well as a year-end basis. August 2016 was a remarkable month – yet another in fact. Year-end sales reached the new record described above and September was also a monthly record, with sales totaling 282,466 m3, a 0.2% rise on the record set the prior month.


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Growth in sales of H2F continue to boom. As the chart below shows in the purple line, the growth was very strong at 28.5%, with sales totaling 706,827 m3 for the year-ended September 2016. There is little doubt that the treated structural timber grade is substituting for its un-treated cousin. That product, Structural <120 mm saw growth of just 0.3% over the same period.

Relevantly, sales of Structural <120mm totaled 746,874 m3, just 5.7% higher than sales of H2F. Expectations are that sales of H2F will soon overtake those of the once utterly dominant untreated product.


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At the same time as domestic sales have grown, imports of sawn softwood have continued to decline. Import volumes are down 16.5% on the prior year, and for the year-ended August totaled 608,525 m3. Of interest is that roughsawn imports declined a relatively modest 6.6% over the period to 144,186 m3, while dressed imports fell a substantial 26.2% to 200,445 m3.

Under pressure from a lower Australian Dollar exchange rate and a surging domestic sector, imports are struggling, despite the continued demand growth.