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Breakthroughs that will shape the future of the wood business

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Global Wood Industry


The global wood industry (a segment of the wider wood, paper and fiber category) is made up of companies that produce wood products such as plywood, wood-plastic composites and plastic lumber. Wood demand is determined by the level of activity in end-use industries, such as building construction, and the crash of the housing market in the US took a toll on the wood industry. Recovery in the housing sector, and increased demand from the automotive industry are fueling growth in the wood industry.



Key Segments


Global Industry Analysts predicts the global plywood market volume will reach almost 76 million cubic meters by 2015. Industry performance will be driven by global economic recovery and the rising use of plywood in end-use industries, such as the housing market. China dominates the global plywood market, having made the shift from consumer to exporter due to demand from the US and the EU.


China’s plywood manufacturing sector is driven by domestic economic growth and the rising importance of plantations in the East and North of the country as well as parts of Yangtze River. The US is the world’s second-largest market for plywood. It is estimated volume for the US plywood sector will exceed 16 million cubic tons before the end of 2012. South Africa is forecast to record the highest yearly growth rate from 2007 to 2015.


The world market volume for wood-plastic composites, plastic lumber and natural fiber composites, and cellulosic plastic applications reached 24 lakh metric tons in 2011, reports BCC Research. In 2016, market volume is expected to exceed 45 lakh metric tons, with yearly growth reaching almost 14%. The highest growth should come from the building products sector, which is predicted to have yearly growth over 12% between 2011 and 2016. The automotive application segment is forecast to witness 17% annual growth to reach a volume of almost 8 lakh metric tons in 2016.


Demand for decks in the US is expected to record 3% yearly growth to exceed $6 billion and to reach a volume of 3.5 billion lineal feet in 2014, reports Freedonia. This recovery is following a five-year period ending 2009 where yearly growth in demand remained under the 1% mark. Decking demand gains will be fuelled by recovery in the housing construction sector; the US residential sector represented 60% of overall demand for decking in 2009, and residential market demand is expected to record the highest rate of growth in any market through 2014. Alternative materials like wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber in particular are forecast to record high gains through 2014, favored by consumers for their durability and lower maintenance.



Regional Market Share


MarketLine predicts G8 countries will contribute more than $336 billion to the global forest products industry in 2015, after yearly growth of around 1% for the five preceding years. Combined G8 nation contributions reached almost $354 billion in 2010, having maintained an annual growth rate in excess of 6% for the four preceding years. The US dominated the global forest products industry in terms of market share at almost 44% in 2010, worth $154 billion. It is forecast that the US will continue to dominate the forest products sector, with predicted value set at $116 billion for 2015.


Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are witnessing the fastest rate of growth in the global forest products industry, reaching almost $591 billion in 2010. China recorded the highest yearly rate of growth between 2006 and 2010, exceeding 23%, according to MarketLine. China’s forest products industry generated revenue of nearly $407 billion in 2010 and is expected to exceed $756 billion in 2015.


Asia-Pacific contributed more than $45 billion to the world forest products industry in 2011, having recorded around a -1.5% yearly change rate for the four preceding years and 1% yearly growth in industry consumption volumes over the same period. MarketLine predicts the Asia-Pacific forest products sector will witness accelerating growth to reach a yearly expansion rate of almost 5% between 2011 and 2016 to exceed $58 billion.



Market Outlook


Moving forward, players in the global wood industry will need to concentrate their efforts on optimizing renewable, managed forest resources use to boost profits. Due to the challenge represented by new materials, wood industry enterprises will have to produce new and improved wood products that offer durability and meet guidelines for environmentally friendly products.


Manufacturing process efficiency and value recovery will also help render production more cost effective, giving adaptable industry players a competitive edge. Other important factors for companies seeking to capture market share include improving wood quality, better forest biosecurity, pest management, and product and process innovation. 



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