We are pleased to announce that the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle will be organizing a coffee break and market briefing featuring our the Department of Commerce Senior Commercial Officer/Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, Mr. Joe Kaesshaefer.
The US is Australia's fifth leading wood products supplier (following New Zealand, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, respectively), with Australia importing $99 million in wood products from the US in 2013. Leading product categories include softwood plywood, fabricated structural members, and windows. All of these product categories has continually increased, due to strong demand in Australia's housing market. While a small market, imports of prefabricated housing reached $506,000 in 2013
Dear EBPA Members,
As we prepare for 2014 we are working on keeping our activities current and beneficial for both EBPA members and the construction professionals who attend our seminars in Japan and China.
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.
On April 4th, the newly minted Bank of Japan Kuroda (BOJ) announced sweeping new changes to expand the scale and scope of monetary easing measures. The quantitative easing measures are projected to nearly double Japan's monetary base to 270 trillion yen by the end of 2014 in view of achieving a 2% annual inflation target. The BOJ measures resulted in a further weakening in the Japanese yen towards near par to the US dollar and a rally in the Nikkei stock exchange.
The State of the Economy
Quarter-over-quarter GDP growth on a seasonally adjusted basis was 2.2%, an improvement from Q2. Weaker growth in industrial production was partially offset by stronger agriculture and services sector growth. Slowing down at a more moderate pace suggests that the economy may be bottoming out.