Japan Economy, Housing & Lumber Shipments
Leading indicators pointed to continued economic recovery in August and September. The Bank of Japan “Tankan” Business confidence survey reported that large manufacturers dramatically improved their outlook to a ranking of 12 in September from 4 in June, the highest level since before the global financial crisis. Increased business confidence was led by auto manufacturers and electronics makers. Capital investment is also firming with machinery orders up 6.5% in July. The Cabinet Office reports that deflation is showing signs of ending and that the consumer price index increased 0.9% year over year in August. The value of September exports increased 11.5% in September. However, unemployment worsened from 3.8% to 4.1% in August.
Housing Starts Summary
In August, Japan’s housing market registered a 12th consecutive monthly gain. Total starts finished at 84,343 units, an 8.8% increase over year prior figures. Total wooden units were up 11.4% to 47,901 units. Owner occupied homes edged up 11.2% compared with rental housing at 7.0%. Mansion condominiums advanced 6.0%.
By construction method, August post & beam starts were 36,260 units: up 9.9% over August 2012. Wooden pre-fab rose 14.4% to 1,506 units and total pre-fab finished at 12,184 units. August platform frame starts increased 4.9% to 10,135 units. Owner occupied custom homes rose 10.2% to 3,374 units, rentals advanced 4.9% to 5,372 units, however, speculative homes declined 4.2% to 1,384 units.
Japan Softwood Exports Update
In August Canadian SPF exports to Japan increased 25.3% to 157,271m3. From January until the end of August Japan SPF Shipments advanced 18.25% to 1,373,476m3. Stronger J-Grade prices over the same period helped boost the value of SPF shipments by 54.9% to $368.2 million in the first eight months of the year. Keep it going!
(click graph to enlarge)