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Wood exports tipped to rise

EXPORTS of Australian sawnwood and wood-based panels are tipped to rise appreciably over the next decade as log availability increases, says ABARE executive director Brian Fisher.

Higher availability, combined with the prospect of only modest growth in domestic demand for structural wood, could boost Australia’s export availability of sawnwood wood-based panels significantly,” Dr Fisher said.

He said Australia was currently an importer of sawnwood but could become an exporter in the next decade.

Exports of wood-based panels, woodchips and roundwood are also projected to rise.

While Australia is projected to remain an importer of paper, the share of consumption supplied by imports is expected to fall.

Australia’s log removals are projected to rise to an average 34 million cubic metres a year in the five years to 2039-40, compared with an estimated 21 million in the latter half of the 1990s.

Sawnwood production is projected to rise by more than 50 per cent to 5.6 million cubic metres and the production of wood-based panels is expected to reach 2.5 million cubic metres.

Over the same period, consumption of sawnwood is projected to rise by around 20 per cent to 5.1 cubic metres.

“The principal use of sawnwood and wood-based panels is in residential building construction,” Dr Fisher said.

“Long-term consumption of structural wood is projected on the basis of the estimated underlying requirements of new dwellings, which is based in turn on projected numbers of new single-unit dwellings and long-term income growth,” he said.

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