Value of U.S. building materials imports to Japan drops 3.2% in year to August to US$601.31M, but total import value climbs 14.4%; September housing starts drop 10.8% year-over-year to 64,206 units

LOS ANGELES , December 5, 2011 () – In the eight months to August 2011, the value of total building materials imports to Japan rose by 14.4% to ¥763.2 billion (about US$9.91 billion at ¥77.0/US$), compared with ¥667.0 billion (about US$7.6B at ¥87.78/US$) in the same period of 2010, according to data issued in November by the U.S. Commercial Service.

Total imports of waferboard, OSB and particleboard increased by 42.9% in value from ¥9.270 million between January and August last year to ¥13.245 million in the first eight months of 2011, according to statistics supplied by the Japan Tariff Assn.

The value of imported joinery and lumber studs increased 27.4% from ¥56.694 million to 72.250 million, and imports of plywood and laminated wood panels rose by 33.6% in value from ¥102.712 million to ¥137.204 million.

The value of building product imports from the U.S. fell by 3.2% in the eight-month period to ¥46.3 billion ($601.31million), from ¥47.8 billion ($544.94 million) in the same period last year. The U.S.’s market share is 6.1%.

U.S. imports of waferboard, OSB and particleboard increased by 14.5% in value year-over-year from ¥27 million to ¥31 million, giving the U.S. a 0.2% market share.

U.S. imports of plywood and laminated wood panels increased approximately 398% from ¥69 million to ¥342 million in the year to end-August. In this category, the U.S. has a market share of 0.2%.

The value of U.S. imports of joinery and lumber studs dropped 6.8% in the period, from ¥1.773 billion to ¥1.652 billion, giving the U.S. a 2.3% market share.

Housing starts

Housing starts in September were recorded at a total of 64,206 units, 10.8% lower than in September 2010. For the first nine months of 2011, total starts were 625,140 units compared with 594,381 units in 2010 – an increase of 5.2%.

Data from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport recorded a 7.5% reduction in the number of single-family units started in September to 34,803, compared to last September. For the first nine months, starts in this category are 4.1% higher than in 2010, climbing from 308,654 to 321,207.

The number of row houses fell by 26.8% in September to 4,919; but increased by 7.6% in the first nine months from 59,742 to 64,289. Multifamily dwellings decreased 11.5% in September to 24,484; but were up 6% in the first nine months from 225,985 in 2010 to 239,644 units.

2x4 housing starts, which are not included in the total, were down 23.3% in September at 6,707 units, while prefabricated starts fell by 17.8% to 8,520 units. In the first nine months, 2x4 starts climbed 6.5% from 68,053 in 2010 to 72,468 units; and prefabricated starts rose by 3.5% from 91,758 in 2010 to 94,958 units.

The primary sources of this article are reports issued in November by the U.S. Commercial Service, Osaka-Kobe, Japan.


* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.