After a poor start to 2013, apparent consumption of sawn softwood in Australia lifted progressively throughout the year. By year’s end, three successive quarterly consumption rises saw the implied measure of demand for the year just 12.6 km3 or 0.5% higher than for 2012.
Australian Apparent Consumption of Sawn Softwood: JQ’09 – DQ’13 (km3pq)
Source: ABS and FWPA
As the chart shows, domestic sales increased strongly across the year, delivering almost all of the quarterly increases. This domestic sales data must be treated with some caution because it is derived from a voluntary data collection and it may include changes in the proportion of the domestic industry that is reporting from one period to the next.
On this analysis, aggregate demand for sawn softwood in 2013 was just short of 2.8 Mm3, with domestic sales accounting for 2.3 Mm3 or 82.8% of the total. In 2012, total reported domestic sales were 5.7% lower.
Sawn softwood imports totaled 0.7 Mm3 up a modest 3.1% on 2012 and showing little signs of movement.
Exports rose by 137.3% in 2013, albeit from a relatively low base, reaching 0.23 Mm3.
It is difficult to go past the depreciation of the Australian dollar as a driver for increased domestic sales and exports in a climate of heightened awareness of movements in the AUD relative to the USD.
However, dwelling and alteration commencements are driving the apparent increase in demand through 2013.
This is an edited extract published in the monthly Wood Market Edge in February 2014.
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