Forest imports rise

STRONG economic growth has boosted imports of forest products.

In the first three quarters of 1999-2000, forest products imports were 11 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 1998-99.

However, the value of imports appear to have peaked in the December quarter with imports of forest products falling 2 per cent in the March quarter to $947 million.

Exports rose 7 per cent to a record $406 million in the March quarter.

Exports of paper and paperboard rose 17 per cent, woodchips rose 9 per cent while roundwood and sawnwood exports fell slightly. The value of hardwood woodchip exports rose by 8 per cent to $128 million in the March quarter.

At $1.13 billion, the total value of Australian forest product exports for the first three quarters of 1999-2000 was 21 per cent higher than the value of exports in the orresponding 1998-99 period.

In the early 1990s, woodchip exports accounted for 56 per cent of the total value of forest products exported.

During 1998-99, the value of woodchip exports fell to 45 per cent of total forest product exports and in the first three quarters of 1999-2000 has fallen to 41 per cent.

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