The weak Rand has affected imports and traders are ordering only what is needed and they have to work hard to secure the price increases for meranti, US hardwoods and African hardwoods needed to off-set the weaker Rand.
Analysts report demand for panels is also weak as most of the shopfitting work in the malls has now been completed there is little new work in the pipeline.
The furniture market remains very subdued despite a slight improvement in disposable income levels which translated into an expansion of retail sales in the beginning of the third quarter of the year. However, consumers are still very cautious on spending on household items such as furniture, the purchase of which can be delayed.
Tough year for sawmillers
In the November issue of Sawmilling South Africa Roy Southey writes “The past year has been a very tough one for our sector with not much to celebrate, but we do feel that there is potential and light at the end of the tunnel for 2018.
One thing that seems certain is that we will see some significant change of ownership in our sector and with that will come renewed energy and enthusiasm.
For the past two or three years many sawmills have been preoccupied with the idea and feasibility of converting biomass into electricity with not much emerging from this direction, this may have something to do with the fact that the national power grid seems to have stabilised and so many sawmillers are now starting to cast their eyes back towards mill modernisation, productivity improvement and mechanisation.
With the government intent on introducing a National Minimum Wage (NMW) in 2018 this could make good sense.”
South Africa: Importers face uphill battle to lift wholesale prices
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