A report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) today highlighted continued growth in Australia’s forestry sector thanks to favourable conditions in key markets, particularly housing and international trade.
ABARES Executive Director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said Australian forest and wood products statistics: March and June quarters 2018, reported the fourth consecutive year of growth for the value added by the forestry and forest product manufacturing industries, to $8.8 billion.
“We are seeing strong domestic demand for wood products, with a 4.4 per cent increase in house commencements compared to the previous year, while the number of new other residential buildings—such as units and townhouses—also increased,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.
Domestic demand for wood products remains at high levels. Following four years of consecutive growth, the estimated volume of logs harvested stabilised in 2017−18 at 32.9 million cubic metres.
Exports of Australia’s wood products were higher than ever in 2017–18, increasing for the fifth consecutive year to reach a record $3.6 billion, on the back of record high exports of woodchips, paper and paperboard, and roundwood.
Overseas demand for woodchips, sourced mainly from Australia’s commercial hardwood plantations, remains strong with woodchips exports reaching $1.3 billion. The report finds the Chinese market accounted for the majority of total wood product export growth in 2017−18. In fact, according to ABARES, 47 per cent of Australia’s wood product exports went to China, a market now worth $1.7 billion.
Australia’s demand for overseas wood products in 2017−18 also increased, to $5.6 billion across all major wood product import categories, driven by growth in imports of wood-based panels and miscellaneous forest products.