26. Mai 2010: Die vor kurzem aufgrund der Wirtschaftskrise lancierte "neue Holzexportstrategie" der österreichischen Holzindustrie, welche kurz gefasst und wörtlich wiedergegeben "sich auf den Vorgarten Österreichs, der Schwarzmeerregion" konzentrieren wird, scheint vor dem Hintergrund der folgenden Pressemeldung zumindest hinterfragenswert:
For some such as Canfor Corp the economic downturn that significantly reduced the US demand for Canadian lumber has had an upside. Instead of wallowing in the doldrums Canfor Corp turned their attention to Asia and during the first quarter discovered ‘exponential growth’.
“There so many opportunities in China, it’s really a stretch of the imagination,” Canfor’s president and chief executive Jim Shepard said Friday.
Canfor Corp is based in Vancouver and shipped approximately 25% of its products offshore during the first quarter. Half of that went to China, a further 20% was used domestically and the rest was sent to the US. According to Shepard there is a growing Asian appetite for higher grades of lumber. He added that within the next decade China will emerge as a dominant market for lumber as it develops its urban centres.
“We continue to focus on what the most opportunistic ways will be for shipping our product there,” Shepard said. “And while we’re doing that, the net effect is that we’re taking a considerable amount of volume off the North American market and that’s certainly having a positive impact on lumber prices.”
Workers who were laid off during the downturn are beginning to be recalled by Canadian forestry companies as they re-open mills. The closure of the mills along with problems faced by international competitors (the port strike in Finland and the earthquake in Chile) have meant that the supply of wood products are now at an all time low resulting in a global shortage that has driven lumber prices up 30% in the last quarter.
In March lumber prices were so high that export duty rates on shipments from Canada to the US dropped from 15% to 10% in May. This marked the first time that prices reached the threshold since the Softwood Lumber Agreement between the US and Canada came into effect in 2006.
“I’d like to say we are at the beginning of the end, but that remains to be seen. I do, however, genuinely feel that we are past the worst of it and we came through in one piece and in good shape,” Shepard said.
The current spike is driven by temporary supply constraints rather than sustained demand so it is still unclear whether it will remain permanent. The on going downturn in the US housing market continues to take a toll on Canfor’s financial performance. In the US housing starts remain under 600,000 which is well below a peak of two million in 2005 and the more normalised annual range of 1.2 million to 1.6 million per annum.
“There may be rays of sunlight shining right now, but there are still some clouds in the horizon, particularly in the United States, like the expected continuation of home mortgage foreclosures and the constraining high unemployment numbers,” he said. “For these reasons we continue to be focused on growing our offshore markets”. The company emerged from the downturn with a strong balance sheet that will enable it to take advantage of growth opportunities and mondernise its facilities. In the first quarter the company operated at 60% capacity and said it would bring on new capacity when and if the demand warrants it.
Last week on the the Toronto Stock Exchange shares in Canfor gained 33 cents, trading at $10.43 (Link)
Bleibt zu hoffen, dass sich unsere Holzindustrie noch einmal besinnt und in sich geht - könnte ja sein, dass es sich mittlerweile herumgesprochen hat, dass der derzeit weiche Euro die Exportchancen enorm erhöht und dass es Länder gibt, die für Schnittholzexporteuere wirklich interessant sind...
Exportierst du schon oder pennst du noch? Eine durchaus berechtigte Frage an Österreichs Holzindustrie...