With a foreign trade surplus of EUR 4.08 billion, the Austrian wood sector in 2017 was once again clearly above the long-term average. Only in 2007 the trade balance was better, at EUR 4.18 billion. “Wood products are the second most important source of foreign exchange earner for the domestic economy,” emphasised Rudolf Rosenstatter, chairman of the cooperation agreement Forst Holz Papier (FHP), on the occasion of the opening of the International Timber Fair in Klagenfurt (29 August – 1 September 2018).
Imports of wood products valued at EUR 6.04 billion were offset by exports of EUR 10.12 billion in 2017. In 2016, the total value of imports of timber products amounted to EUR 5.73 billion, exports during the same period amounted to EUR 9.89 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of EUR 4.16 billion.
Of the exports of the woodprocessing industry in 2017, about EUR 5.03 billion were generated with paper products (paper, cardboard, viscose, etc.), EUR 3.22 billion euros by wood and wood products (including cuttings), EUR 0.94 billion by particleboard and fibreboard, EUR 0.59 billion by furniture and EUR 0.34 billion by pulp and wood pulp.
In total, in 2017 the export surplus of the timber sector slightly decreased by EUR 80 million (2%) compared to 2016. Exports increased in value by EUR 230 million (2.3%), while imports increased by EUR 310 million (5.4%). According to calculations by Statistics Austria, the total Austrian trade balance for 2017 amounts to EUR 5.6 billion, which corresponds to an increase of EUR 1.2 billion compared to 2016 (27%). According to the performance figures, the wood industry is second only to tourism, with EUR 8.8 billion.
“The wood value chain has again shown a strong sign of life in 2017. Our sector is traditionally very foreign trade oriented. The wood industry has an export share of 70 per cent, while the paper and pulp industry exports as much as 85 per cent of its production. Wood was and still is an Austrian export success,” explained Rudolf Rosenstatter.