Softwood Appearances Falling Out of Favour

Despite recording a few months of improvements on a prior-comparative-period basis, the longer-term outlook for Appearance grade softwood products remains poor and small, with softwoods less likely to match the modern aesthetic requirement for appearance grade timbers.

In February 2015, sales were recorded at 2,186 m3, their highest level since August 2013. The February figure was a truly significant 73.7% higher than for February 2014. Since November, each month’s sales have been higher than for the same month in the prior year.

Appearance grade softwood product sales are displayed in the following chart.


The slight upwards movement in year-end sales in recent months – represented by the red dotted line – will be some comfort for producers, but not much. For the year to end February 2015, sales totalled 17.6 km3, down 10.2% from 19.6 km3 one year prior.

While the slide may have been arrested recently, driven presumably by new dwellings requiring completion and the reasonable strength in the renovations market, all of the pain was taken before the last year. Sales to year-end February 2012, just three years ago, totalled 41,948 m3 or more than double for the year-ended February 2015.

Appearance grade softwoods are all softwood boards, linings and furniture products. The reality is that they have fallen out of aesthetic favour and are much less likely to be used than was once the case.

For further details, go to the FWPA Data Dashboard