8 Mar 2010

Sawmilling hopes centre on China

7:36 am on 8 March 2010

A global forestry expert thinks China may provide some relief for New Zealand's battered sawmilling industry.

International trading conditions and an exporter-unfriendly exchange rate have forced the closure of saw mills around the country.

But Bob Flynn from the United States-based forestry information agency RISI, says China's demand for lumber, as well as logs, is soaring.

He says some of the large furniture producers in China have been using radiata pine for years.

But Mr Flynn says that some of the wood processed there is not uniform sizes or quality.

He says for some of China's large producers there is a real need for well processed, uniformed sizes of material that they can put into large scale production lines.

Mr Flynn says China has a long term shortage of wood and he believes they will be looking beyond just logs and there will be potential for processed wood as well.

He says New Zealand's share of the log export trade to China has grown from five to 22% in two years.

He told a forestry finance conference in Auckland that New Zealand is one of the few wood producers exporting to China with the potential to increase its supply.