The Timber Supply and Demand Conference of Japan, comprised of five groups of imported wood products, came up with the projection for demand for 2016, said the Japan Lumber Reports Friday.
The projection does not expect any significant change in the import of both logs and lumber.
Japan housing starts 2016 are expected to exceed 2015 then to decline again in 2017, said the Timber Supply and Demand Conference according to Japan Lumber Reports Friday.
New housing starts in Japan are estimated at about 940,000 units, as opposed to 910-920,000 last year, an approximately 2-3 per cent increase.
Total demand for imported logs and lumber is expected to be 9,608,000 cubic metres, almost the same as 2015.
There is expected a noticeable change in the import of North American logs, which is estimated to increase by 2.6 per cent. This had decreased by 15 per cent in 2015 from 2014, which was too much for the market so this bump in 2016 seems to be a recovery.
The decrease in North American log imports was due to a deliberate shifting to use of domestic species as well as production curtailment by plywood mills last year.
The import of radiata pine from New Zealand will decline further in 2016 due to log export prices driven by the Chinese market.
Demand for Russian logs continues shrinking as saw- mills cutting Russian logs continue decreasing. Russian lumber volume is stabilizing at about 600 M cubic me- tres annually.
Japan Housing Starts
Housing starts in Japan increased by 1.7 per cent in November of 2015 over the same month of the previous year, reversing from a 2.5 per cent drop in October.
The number of dwelling units rose for all categories: individual houses (+3.5 per cent from a month earlier to 25,310 units in November), rental housing (+2.6 per cent to 33,505 units), built for sale (+2.5 per cent to 20,503 units), prefabricated (+1.5 per cent to 12,789 units) and two-by-four (+2 per cent to 10.711 units).
Housing Starts in Japan averaged 2.54 per cent from 1961 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 67.63 per cent in March of 1972 and a record low of -43.96 per cent in September of 2007.