Paper overtakes woodchips as Australia's major wood product export

21 November, 2013

The latest issue of Australian forest and wood products statistics, released Wednesday (November 20) by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), gives an overview of forest and wood product trends for 2012–13.

Executive director of ABARES, Karen Schneider, said the value of wood product imports fell by two per cent to $4.1 billion and the value of wood product exports fell by eight per cent to $2 billion in 2012–13.

"The changes in the value of wood product imports and exports means Australia's trade deficit in wood products remains relatively unchanged at around $2.1 billion," Schneider said.

"Woodchips—historically Australia's largest wood product export—have been overtaken by paper and paperboard exports.

"The value of paper and paperboard exports remained above $700 million for the third consecutive year following a record high of $747 million in 2010–11.

"In terms of value, paper and paperboard exports are now the major wood product export from Australia, accounting for around 35 per cent of total wood product export value in 2012–13."

The fall in woodchip exports reflects the competitive conditions in global woodchip markets, with Australia facing tough competition from woodchip exporters in Asia and South America.

"The decrease in value of imports was mainly driven by falls in the value of sawnwood and panel imports. However, a rebound in Australia's housing activity in 2012–13 is expected to increase sawnwood consumption, and may lead to an increase in imports over the next year," Schneider said.

"The report will assist policy makers and industry representatives to develop priorities and shape investments into the future."