CHINA remains the primary market for Australian wood product exports, a new report confirms.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences report released this week showed continued growth in Australia’s forestry sector via strong export performance.

ABARES acting executive director, Peter Gooday, noted the scale of the China market.

“Overseas demand for woodchips, sourced mainly from Australia’s commercial hardwood plantations, remains strong with woodchips exports growing by 19% to reach $1.6bn in 2018–19,” Mr Gooday said.

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“Exports of Australia’s paper and paperboard products increased to over $1bn.

“China is Australia’s largest trading partner for wood products and the Chinese market accounted for 70% of total wood product export growth in 2018−19.

“In fact, nearly half of Australia’s wood product exports went to China, a market now worth $1.9bn.”

Mr Gooday said Australian forest and wood products statistics, March and June quarters 2019 reported the fifth consecutive year of growth for the forestry sector, with higher export demand offsetting weaker domestic demand.

“We are seeing continued strong overall demand for wood products, with the estimated volume of logs harvested in 2018−19 remaining high at 32.7m cubic metres,” Mr Gooday said.

“The estimated value of logs harvested increased to around $2.7bn, driven mainly by higher export demand.

“Exports of Australia’s wood products were higher than ever in 2018–19, increasing for the sixth consecutive year to reach a record $3.9bn. This increase came on the back of record high exports of woodchips, paper and paperboard, and roundwood.”

 He said Australia’s consumption of overseas wood products in 2018−19 also increased, to $5.9bn, driven by growth in imports of paper and paperboard products, and miscellaneous forest products.

The report can be viewed here.

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