Korean Economy, Construction, Lumber Shipments

IMG_1800South Korea posted a trade surplus for the 39th month in a row in April of 2015 by reaching US$8.5 billion, up marginally from US$ 8.4 billion in March as imports dropped at a faster pace than exports.

Slump in major countries such as the US, China, European Union countries and Japan is weighing on South Korean economy.  Exports dropped 8% on-year to $46.2 billion in April, while imports nosedived 17.8% to $37.7 billion.  The drop in exports was attributed to a cut in global oil prices, which, in turn, has significantly reduced the price of petroleum and petrochemical products, South Korea’s key export items.  The country’s overall imports of raw materials, including energy, plunged over 25% while imports of capital and consumer goods, on the other hand, gained 2.1% and 4.7% on year in April. Continue reading

Japan Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments

Japan’s Economy Posting Moderate Recovery & Household Savings Top Record

japan economyExceeding analyst expectations, the Japanese economy registered an annualized growth rate of 2.4% between January and March 2015. The positive news pushed the Nikkei 225 Index to its highest level since April of 2000. The increase marks the second straight quarter of growth. The turnaround in the Japanese equity market since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power has dramatically helped increase average household wealth. The average household savings for a family unit of 2 or more people increased to a high of 17.98 million yen or the approximate of CAD $180,000.

Japan Housing Starts Summary 

March 2015

Two completed homes in the Maple Village Subdivision.

Two completed homes in the Maple Village Subdivision.

For the first time in 13 months, total Japanese housing starts registered into positive territory. Total housing starts edged up 0.7% to finish at 69,887 units. Total wooden starts increased 3.7% to 38,252 units.

By construction method post and beam starts finished 4.1% higher at 28,239 units, wooden pre-fabricated housing declined 6.6% to 1,077 units and platform frame starts posted a 3.8% gain to end at 8,936 units. Within 2×4 starts owner occupied units increased 5.6% to 2,386 units, built for sale spec homes increased 10% to 1,155 units and rentals increased 1.9% to 5,390 units.

B.C. Softwood Exports to Japan

IMG_8479March B.C. softwood exports Japan totaled 202,712m3 compared to year prior results of 71,600m3. (Note the March 2014 results were impacted by the Vancouver truckers strike) Year to date through until the end of March, BC Softwood exports totaled 508,651m3 for a value of $178.6 million compared to shipments of 418,523m3 and a value of $148 million in Q1 2014. Year to date SPF shipments totaled 339,346m3 for $101.4 million compared to 246,332m3 and a value of $70 million in 2014.

China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments


China’s housing sales in major cities, measured by floor space, jumped 37.4 per cent in May from a year earlier, helped by government’s stimulus policies and developers’ push to clear inventories.

HSBC flash PMI signals persistent weakness in economy.

* Reinforces expectations of fresh policy stimulus

* Output sub-index at 13-month low

* New export orders at 23-month low

* Premier Li says 7-pct growth target achievable (Repeats to remove text of earlier story; adds Premier Li comment, analyst quotes)

Chinese factory activity contracted for a third month in May and output shrank at the fastest rate in just over a year, a private survey showed, indicating persistent weakness in the world’s second-largest economy that requires increased policy support.

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Korea Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments


The South Korean government has recently announced plans to add a further 15 berths to Busan New Port, increasing container capacity by 15m teu.

The South Korean government has recently announced plans to add a further 15 berths to Busan New Port, increasing container capacity by 15m teu.

The South Korean economy expanded 3.3% in 2014 as increased facility investments offset slowing growth in construction investment and exports.Facility investment increased 5.8% in 2014, turning around from a 0.8% on-year contraction in 2013. Construction investment growth, however, sharply slowed to 1% from a 5.5% growth in the previous year.

Private spending came in at 1.8%, remaining mostly unchanged from a 1.9% on-year gain in the previous year. Their per capita gross national income, a gauge of the population’s purchasing power, reached US$28,180, up $2,001 from 2013.Exports rose 2.8%, slowing from a 4.3% increase in 2013, while growth in imports quickened to 2.1% from 1.7%. Continue reading