The rising strength of the US Dollar compared to the Yen has impacted sales of US building materials in Japan. Coupled with an increase in the Japanese consumption tax from 5% to 8% in April 2014, new construction starts have slowed in the first half of 2015.
Over the past few months, EBPA has been active leading and participating in several trade events in China and Japan, including two sales missions, a research mission, the Japan Lumber Importers mission, and the Japan Home Show US pavilion. In addition, the association held seminars in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA about leading emerging international markets and changes in established international markets for US building materials. The two seminars were very well attended by representatives from building products and related service sectors.
While domestic housing markets are improving, international markets continue to be an important part of many companies' sales portfolios. International markets can help companies minimize losses when domestic markets decline. Recent growth in international markets far surpassed domestic consumption and sales. While some markets have softened, they still offer major sales opportunities.