Softwood packaging sales showing large rises

Sales of softwood packaging timber have risen 10.46% for the year to end March 2015, compared with the year to end March 2014. Sales totaled a hefty 422.3 km3 and are recording continual records, as monthly sales records continue to be reported.

As the chart shows, sales of softwood packaging are quite seasonal, with the annual dip commencing in November or December each year, with the recovery typically taking until March the following year to be realized.

Fig - Packaging8

While the dip is observable, what is also evident over the data series is that sales of packaging materials build up, with the annual peak usually occurring in October or November, before a sharp fall. In fact, sales records for any month have been set in November 2011 (35.2 km3), October 2013 (37.1 km3) and October 2014 (41.6 km3).

Although the October 2014 monthly record still stands, there are two factors of interest in the recent data. September 2014 was also a record (40.6 km3), only to be eclipsed in October and then almost matched by sales in November 2014 (40.0 km3). The strength in packaging grade sales in late 2014 is evident.

The second factor worth noting is that after the seasonal dip – which saw the highest ever sales for the months of January and February – packaging sales in March 2015 (40.2 km3) were the third highest for any month and by the far the highest for the month of March. Indeed, they were 26.1% higher than for March 2014. Continuing strength in packaging sales is clear.

A small caution needs to be provided with this data. The addition of one or more softwood processors to the reporting could skew the data upwards, quite easily. That aside, the driver for increased sales of packaging grades is increased activities in the sectors it supplies. Even more than is the case with paperboard and corrugated boxes, softwood packaging is linked into domestic food markets. If this data is anything to go by, those sectors are performing well in the Australian economy right now.

For further details, go to the FWPA Data Dashboard