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Weekly news for the timber and forestry industries


  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: 1issuE 245 | 29.10.12 | PAgE

    GROUNDBREAKING on new US homes surged last month to its fastest pace in more than four years, a sign the housing sectors budding recovery is gaining traction and supporting the wider economic recovery.A pumped up building market in the US is attracting South American wood producers back to their traditional market which should take some pressure off the industry in Australia and New Zealand still bending under heavy imports from aggressive suppliers such as Chile.European wood producers, too, are likely to divert exports to Americas building revival

    which saw housing starts increased 15% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units, according to a US Commerce Department report the quickest pace since July 2008.US timber imports increased 21% from June to July to meet the housing demand. The US imported 56% more lumber from Chile in the same period.Imports from New Zealand increased by 12%, a relatively modest increase compared to the increase in supply from the major suppliers to the US. China, which usually supplies a similar volume to the US as

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    issuE 245 | 29.10.12 | PAgE 1

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    Housing yankedfrom brink in us

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    Presidential campaign pumps uprecovery in family homes market

    Presidential race .. Obama and Romney both have a sales pitch on US housing recovery.

    AFPA re-joins talks on forests agreement

    Vienna first step on LigNA tour

    global Wood Mart hub of regions industry

    THis issuE

  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: PAgE | issuE 245 | 29.10.122

    iNDusTRY NEWs

    AFPA re-joins talks onTas forests agreement

    5th Annual

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    David Pollard Adrian Kloeden Bob Gordon Bryan Green

    THE Australian Forest Products Association has rejoined the forest peace talks in Tasmania.It withdrew over five weeks ago seeking assurances given by the state government about the management structure of wood production forests.AFPA has consistently maintained the requirement for the durability of outcomes for the forest products industry, its employees, contractors and associated communities.Chief executive David Pollard said that although AFPA had received no response to its letter to the Tasmanian government, following discussions about resource security, durability and forest management, the association had agreed to return to IGA negotiations.AFPA wishes to explore every avenue for an agreement, and will therefore re-join the talks, Dr Pollard said.We remain concerned about durability of the as-yet to be determined forest management arrangements and the confidence they will provide for the future of production volumes, and will not sign off on any ultimate agreement if those concerns are not explicitly addressed.AFPA has actively promoted the need to maintain a single, integrated and independent statutory manager with fiduciary responsibilities, responsibility for commercial operations and with full control of the permanent production forest zones to provide the necessary

    security for investment that is at arms length from government.Any arrangement which separates the management of the production forests from commercial operational management undermines the durability of any forest agreement, Dr Pollard said. Meanwhile, Forestry Tasmania has reported a $27.6 million loss for the year to June, describing it as its most difficult

    since it was corporatised in 1994.In the report, chairman Adrian Kloeden and managing director Bob Gordon cite difficult market conditions and ongoing political uncertainties.Resources Minister Bryan Green has defended the companys result which he blamed on external pressures.

  • Advertising: Tel +61 7 3266 1429 Email: 3issuE 245 | 29.10.12 | PAgE

    New Zealand, increased it supply by 33%.The US economy has shown signs of faster growth in recent months as the jobless rate falls and retail sales data points to stronger consumer spending.The data reveals housing, which was battered by the 2007-09 recession, is increasingly one of the brighter spots in the economy and could add to growth this year for the first time since 2005.And presidential candidates Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney are both plat-forming on the signs of a US housing recovery ahead of the November 6 election.President Obama is drawing attention to improvements in the housing industry while keeping up pressure on Republicans to back policies the White House says would help struggling homeowners refinance their debts.One of the heaviest drags on our recovery is getting lighter, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. Now we have to build on the progress weve made and keep moving forward.Obama cited an increased pace in construction of single-family houses and apartments in September. The Commerce Department said last months construction pace was the fastest in more than four years. Home sales are also up compared with last year.With the economy still the dominant issue of the presidential campaign, Obama has been counting on voters believing that conditions are improving.Governor Romney wisely is focused on the long term in housing.

    We need to wind down the portfolios of the GSEs [government-sponsored flow of credit] and reassess the governments role in such a way to get more private capital back into housing, he said.The brighter economic signal is likely to be welcomed at the White House, where a sluggish economy is weighing on President Barack Obamas chances of re-election next month.Economists estimate that for every new house built, at least three new jobs are created.More home building could help compensate for some of the weakness recently in factory output, which is seen as due to sluggish export demand and cooling investment in capital goods.Economists polled by Reuters forecast residential construction rising to a 770,000-unit rate. Augusts starts were revised to show

    a 758,000-unit pace instead of the previously reported 750,000.US home sales have been creeping up and the steep decline in prices since 2006 appears to have bottomed. That has helped home-builder sentiment, which this month rose to a fresh six-year high.The national median sale price was $187,400 in August, up 9.5% from a year earlier.August marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year price increases, which had not happened since early 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst, according to the National Association of Realtors.The Federal Reserve says it will try to support the recovery and in turn, drive down the high unemployment rate by launching another round of bond-buying designed to cut already historically low mortgage rates.

    The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.6% in August, up from a record-low 3.55 in July, but well below the 4.27% figure for a year earlier.Although it remains difficult for many people to qualify for a mortgage, the housing market is strengthening because of pent-up demand, says the Realtors Association.Meanwhile, Americas lumber mills, their workers, and American tree farmers face a mounting crisis from Canadas long-standing practice of dumping government subsidised lumber on the US market.The USD Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports an alliance of large and small independent sawmills from around the country, joined by hundreds of thousands of their employees, and tens of thousands of woodland owners are united in opposition to Canadas unfair trade practice of virtually giving away its forestlands to companies that export lumber to the US, the worlds largest wood products market.Despite a strong home building recovery, US lumber prices are touching new lows, bankruptcies and mill shutdowns are high and climbing higher, while Canadas share of the US market approaches 35%, a near record high.We can compete against any lumber industry in the world, but we cant compete against their government, too, the coalitions chairman Rusty Wood said.

    iNDusTRY NEWs

    Although it remains difficult for many people to qualify for a mortgage, the housing market is strengthening because of pent-up demand

    us National Association of Realtors

    Race to