Australasia's home for timber news and information

China tops paper imports to Australia

Australia’s trade deficit in paper and paperboard was AUD$1.681 billion for the year-ended March 2018, meaning the value of imports outstripped the value of exports by this massive amount. Source: IndustryEdge for Timberbiz

The annual value of imports lifted just 0.4% to AUD$2.741 billion and the value of exports grew a solid 7.6% to AUD$1.060 billion.

As a result, the deficit, although still substantial, fell 3.7% from a year earlier and was AUD$64.5 million lower.

Despite being an open economy with widely traded goods and services, almost three-quarters of Australia’s imports of paper and paperboard came from just 10 countries in the March Quarter of 2018. Of interest is that Australia’s exports are also dominated by just 10 countries receiving close to 75% of the total value of exports.

Measured by value, imports from the Top 10 Importers – shown in the table below – were valued at AUD$504.8 million in MQ’18, accounting for 74.3% of the total value of imports for the quarter. Positions are little changed on an annualized basis (year-ended March 2018), with Korea holding a larger share of the annual market than Germany, which saw its import position grow in MQ’18.

Top 10 Importers to Australia: MQ’18 & YE Mar ‘18 (AUDM)

Source: ABS & IndustryEdge

* NCD is No Country Details, meaning confidentiality restrictions apply to this volume of imports

There were two significant changes from import shares in MQ’17 to MQ’18. Korea’s position declined from sixth to eighth over that period, and the No Country Details (NCD) share rose from fourth to second place. The two changes are directly connected.

There will be little surprise that China dominates imports of paper and board to Australia, as it does to many countries.

Quarterly import shares of the Top 10 Importers are shown in the chart below.

Top 10 Importing Countries to Australia – Paper & Board Shares: SQ’13 – MQ’18 (%)

Australia has large deficits in wood and wood products as well as the deficits detailed here. The nation’s trade deficits are a continuing strategic challenge. Coming to terms with the challenges means businesses need to understand their markets and the investment opportunities that huge deficits present.

IndustryEdge provides the monthly Pulp & Paper Edge, Australia’s only market intelligence and analysis service. For samples and subscription and service details go to