Temporary threat for Australian sawn timber producers
The Australian sawn timber industry is experiencing a temporary threat from imports as a result of a strong dollar and a global surplus of timber following the Global Financial Crisis, according to independent economic forecaster and industry analyst, BIS Shrapnel. In the two years to 2011, imports have increased by 30 per cent.
However, imports are not a significant long term threat, as they are still well below the historical levels of 20 years ago. According to BIS Shrapnel’s Sawn Timber in Australia, 2012 to 2026 report, in the last two decades there has been a significant reduction in sawn timber imports, as domestic production capacity has expanded. At the same time, exports have grown rapidly in the past five years.
Based on a major survey of builders, other end users and merchants, BIS Shrapnel believes that 2013 will continue to present challenges from imports. However, by 2014, international and domestic conditions are expected to be more favourable to producers as the dollar declines. Global demand for timber will also improve in response to a stronger housing market in the US and strong demand in Asian markets.
The report projects that the demand for sawn timber in Australia during the next decade will be driven by sharp growth in the building and construction sector. Due to the current undersupply of residential dwellings in Australia, BIS Shrapnel forecasts the residential construction sector, which uses more than 70 per cent of the sawn timber produced locally, will grow particularly strongly during 2014 and 2015.