Australian Wood News: August 2003
The US$ 4 billion particleboard industry in the
Pacific Rim will boom over the next four years, with demand outstripping
supply and prices increasing by up to 20 %, claims a new study by BIS
Shrapnel. This recovery from the current depressed market conditions will
be driven by significant demand from China, Japan and South Korea, and
relatively low investment in new production capacity.
The study’s authors Bernie Neufel and Peter Grist
observe that the strong growth in consumption over the past five years has
been driven by low prices and substantial new production capacity in the
Pacific Rim and Europe.
“In view of the strong growth in consumption, and
limited plans for capacity expansion, prices, profits and opportunities
for trade and investment over the next four years will improve,” says Mr
The study concludes that in the longer term, North
Asia, particularly China, will be a major magnet for investment and trade,
and that Southeast Asian producers are strategically located to take
advantage of this opportunity.
The strongest growth in production will be in
Southeast Asia where capacity will increase by 41% from 3.6 million to 5.1
million cub metres. Most of this growth will be in Thailand.
The strong growth in consumption will be driven by a
number factors, including strong economies from late 2003, growth in
exports of furniture from Asia, and continued substitution for other
product such a plywood and solid timber. Particleboard production capacity
in Australasia is some 1.35 million cubic metres annually, with 87% of
production in Australia.
The development of moisture resistant (MR)
particleboard for outdoor furniture or cladding could create a new market,
but it will need to be tested, and consumers will need to be convinced of
the effectiveness of this application. Opportunities may exist to
substitute particleboard for diminishing supplies of plywood. Some
producers are also now producing termite resistant particleboard flooring.
In 2002, particleboard prices ranged from $U105 per
cubic metre in Thailand and Malaysia to $U168 per cubic metre in Japan.
Prices will remain flat, or decline marginally, during 2003. Thereafter,
prices will increase by 3-5% above current prices in 2004, and reach
levels 20-25% higher by the end of 2007