Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Korea Economy, Housing and Lumber Shipments

Tai Jeong

By Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

April 2, 2013

Economic Update

South Korea’s economy grew by 2% in 2012, the slowest in three years, due to low consumption and a sharp decline in facility investment stemming from the global economic slowdown.

The actual growth rate of the nation’s GDP in 2012 is the lowest since 2009 when growth expanded by just 0.3% during the global financial crisis. The annual growth of Korea’s GDP then rebounded by 6.3% in 2010, and 3.6% in 2011.

Facilities investment shifted to negative growth of minus 1.8% and construction investment continued its sluggishness to minus 1.5% growth.

Exports of goods and services increased 3.7% in 2012, down from 9.5% a year earlier, and private consumption grew a mere 1.8%, down from 2.3% in 2011.

South Korean households’ monthly income rose 6.1% to 4,077,000 won (US $3,750) on-year in 2012 thanks to overall improvement in labor market conditions and monthly consumption expenditure reached 2,457,000 won up 2.7%.

The dollar closed at 1,068.53won on March 22, 2013, down 4.09% from 1,114.07 the same date in 2012 and up 2.34% from 1,044.06 one month earlier.


Housing Construction

Korea’s housing starts in 2012 amounted to 86,683 buildings, almost same as the year earlier figure of 86,680 buildings.

The number of wood building permits and wood building starts in 2012 increased 1.2% to 11,826 and 3.3% to 10,369 respectively from a year earlier.

Wood Building






Number of Permits






Number of Starts






Source: Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs (as a percent compared to previous year same month and period)


SPF Shipments

Canadian SPF exports to South Korea in 2012 increased 2.7% to 124,834 MFBM while export dollar value increased 9.1% to CDN $59.84 million compared to a year earlier.

A mere increase in 2012 SPF shipment to Korea was resulted to the weakened shipments from September attributed to the current treated wood issue in Korea and higher lumber price cause by the higher lumber demand from the U.S. housing sector. North American lumber prices have increased by 60% since late 2011 on an improving U.S. housing market and elevated demand from Asia.