WoodWeek – 19 November 2014

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Greetings from your WoodWeek team.
This week we’ve got a mixed bag of news. Given that it’s the most important log export market, we’ve got the inside view from Canada Wood's economic experts on what’s going on in China. It’s not in our news specifically today – but if you really wanted to get the answer on what’s happening in China you could ask the President as he is visiting New Zealand this week.

In China, concerns around the broader impact of a property slowdown – reflecting the importance of the sector to China’s economic growth and local government revenues – have resulted in the loosening of a range of policies, with a goal of stabilising the sector.

As part of next year’s eagerly anticipated Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015, forest fire-fighting safety will be incorporated along with forestry and wood transport. Full details on the New Zealand event (3-4 March) and Melbourne event (9-10 March) can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety2015.com.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index declined 0.8% in October – its eighth consecutive monthly decline, albeit the second smallest since February. Log prices turned the corner with a tiny but positive change.

Also this week, we’ve got a snapshot about steep slope technology European- style. Being applied to short logs, it may not be something that catches on here, but it's always good to see what others are getting up to. Maybe we will see a bit more about this – or more applicable technology developments on the Euro- horizon – from the University of Canterbury industry group that went on a field trip to Europe recently.

We’ve got an Aussie perspective on PCBU legislation and what to expect when it is implemented in New Zealand soon. Under the new health and safety legislation, workplaces can expect an enforcement regime that focuses not on incidents, but on failures to assess and manage risks, according to an Australian expert in OHS law.

AFPA’s Chairman has welcomed the results of a business confidence survey and export statistics which both showed positivity in the sector. Finally, we’ve got a sobering update on the extent of the WorkSafe prosecution for a farmer who killed a man working on his farm.

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China economic update

China Economy, Construction & Lumber Shipments

Economic Update:

China’s latest economic data was a mixed bag – with many measures comparatively negative (against the trends of recent years) but stronger than somewhat pessimistic market expectations. While year-on-year GDP growth was at a five year low, the growth rate remaining above 7% will likely be enough to avoid further broad based stimulus – measures opposed by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). This result needs to be viewed in context. Last year’s mini-stimulus program distorted activity in Q3 2013(pushing growth higher), and as a result, sustaining the growth momentum from early 2014 was always unlikely this quarter. Our forecasts remain unchanged, with economic growth at 7.3% in 2014, and slowing further to 7.0% in 2015.

Gross Domestic Product
The latest national accounts data showed that China’s economy grew by 7.3% yoy in the September quarter, the slowest rate of growth since March 2009. In quarterly terms, growth remained reasonably strong at 1.9%. Soft industrial production data over the third quarter did not directly translate into a marked slowing in economic activity for the secondary industries. That said, the comparatively strong growth in China’s service sector saw the tertiary industries account for a larger share of the economy in the third quarter – rising to 47% on a twelve month moving average basis. The share for secondary industries fell to 43% – highlighting the gradual transition that is continuing in China’s economy. There remains speculation around potential stimulus, however commentary from the PBoC continues to suggest opposition from some policy makers. Policy efforts to date have been quite narrow – in areas such as agriculture and social housing – attempting to avoid expansion in credit to over-leveraged sectors, such as residential property and heavy industry.

Industrial Production and Investment
The two major industrial surveys were stable in September. The official PMI (National Bureau of Statistics) was unchanged at 51.1 points, while the HSBC Markit PMI was also stable at 50.2 points. The former is considered a better indicator of larger state-owned enterprises, and the latter of the small-to-medium sector. Production trends at the sub-sector level remain highly mixed. Output of electricity was stronger this month, at 4.1% yoy (compared with -2.2% in August), as was motor vehicle production (4.5% yoy in September compared with 3.1% previously). In contrast, construction related products were weaker. Cement output fell, down -2.2% yoy (from 3.0% in August) and crude steel output was unchanged (down from 1.0% in August).

China’s fixed asset investment remained comparatively weak in September, with the rate of growth unchanged at 13.8% yoy (in seasonally adjusted terms). Key sub-sectors continue to weaken – most notably manufacturing and real estate. The growth in real estate investment has continued to slow – driven in part by weak market conditions. Investment slowed to 10.1% yoy in September (from 11.4% in August) – the weakest growth rate since the global financial crisis. Similarly, manufacturing investment has continued to trend lower – with growth of 12.3% yoy in September (from 13.8% last month).

Concerns around the broader impact of a property slowdown – reflecting the importance of the sector to China’s economic growth and local government revenues – have resulted in the loosening of a range of policies, with a goal of stabilising the sector. The total residential floor space sold in September fell by -12% yoy (compared with -13% last month). In contrast, the value of these sales fell by just -10% yoy – implying a slight increase in indicative prices in September.

International trade
China’s trade surplus pulled back in September, to US$30.9 billion (compared with a record US$49.3 billion in August). The narrowing of the balance was driven largely by a sharp rebound in imports. US dollar denominated exports rose by 15.3% yoy in September (compared with 9.4% in August). The scale of the acceleration reflects some base effects – with a monthly fall in exports occurring in September 2013. In terms of China’s major export markets, there was a sharp increase exports to East Asia – with growth of 24% yoy (compared with just 3.5% in August) – driven entirely by a pick up in Hong Kong, which at almost US$38 billion exceeded exports to the United States and European Union. This raised some concerns around a return to the false invoicing distortions evident in 2013. US exports grew by 11% yoy (largely unchanged) while EU exports increased by 15% yoy (from 12% in August). There was a rebound in High Tech exports – up by 5.8% yoy (compared with -1.2% previously) and Mechanical & Electrical goods, which grew by 8.1% yoy (from 4.7% in August).

Imports were stronger in September, following on from two surprisingly weak months. Imports rose by 7.1% yoy (compared with a -2.3% yoy fall in August). Trends for commodity import volumes were mixed. Iron ore imports improved – with growth accelerating to 14% yoy (from 8.5% in August), while coal was less negative (albeit very weak), with imports down -18% yoy (from -27% last month). In contrast, copper imports fell by -15% yoy (from -13% in August), while crude oil slowed to 7.4% from 18% previously.

In late September, China cut mortgage rates and down payment levels for some home buyers for the first time since the 2008/09 global financial crisis, its boldest step yet to energise an economy increasingly threatened by a sagging housing market.

Although transaction data from private real estate consultancies pointed to a pick-up in sales in recent weeks, the impact of new government measures to provide cheaper loans to second- home buyers remains uncertain. “It still takes time to see whether a recovery of home sales will affect home prices,” Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said in a statement accompanying the data.

Analysts concurred it was too early to tell if government moves in late September to lower mortgage rates and down payment requirements would be enough to stem the price slide. And even if prices do stabilise, developers will remain reluctant to start new projects until a glut of unsold homes is worked off, depressing demand for raw materials and keeping pressure on labour markets.

“You can’t expect to feel the impact of policy measures right away. Liquidity is increasing and the real estate sector is driven by liquidity so prices will gradually improve,” said a Shenzhen- based developer.

The number of potential buyers and sellers of properties increased significantly in October, but the negotiation process has also grown more demanding as sellers become more confident in the market outlook, a real estate agent in Shanghai said.

Meanwhile, Chinese developers are turning to offbeat marketing gimmicks and give-aways as they battle to shift their massive inventory, including resort stays for buyers. (Additional reporting By Judy Hua and Kevin Yao; Editing by Eric Meijer)

Real estate investment, which affects more than 40 other sectors from cement to furniture, rose 12.5 percent in January- September from a year earlier, down from 13.2 percent in the first eight months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

“The weakest part of China’s economy is still the property sector,” said Wang Tao, an analyst at UBS in Hong Kong. “The government has relaxed some controls recently and property sales may pick up in the fourth quarter. However, we may not see improvement in sectors like heavy industry and we expect the economy to continue to slow down.”

Source: Reuters

via canadawood.org
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Forest fire-fighting part of upcoming Safety Summit

Last June, a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona overtook and killed 19 firefighters – even though they had set up fireproof shelters. This inspired Phoenix-based SunSeeker Enterprises to develop a shelter that's better able to withstand the high heat of forest fires. Utilizing a material licensed from NASA to protect the Space Shuttle on re-entry, the Fire Blanket is the result.

The blanket is made from a ceramic fiber coated in a zirconia/inconel spray, and weighs in at a little under 7 lb (3.2 kg). This is a couple of pounds heavier than the tent-style shelters currently used, but unlike those, the Fire Blanket can reportedly withstand temperatures of up to 1,648º C. According to SunSeeker, many existing shelters aren't rated above 260º C even though the average forest fire temperature is 1,315º C.

Also, unlike other shelters that are carried in a bag, plans call for the Fire Blanket to be kept in a backpack that the user wears while firefighting. When the blanket is needed, the wearer will deploy it from that pack like a wingsuit, then draw it around their body. Wingsuit manufacturer Rigging Innovations is reportedly working on that end of the design.

As part of next year’s eagerly anticipated Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015, forest fire- fighting safety will be incorporated along with forestry and wood transport. Full details on the New Zealand event (3-4 March) and Melbourne event (9-10 March) can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety2015.com.

Next week we will release the full presentation programme and keynote speakers from USA and Canada. The lead lineup of speakers will be complemented by a strong group of local industry speakers and health and safety specialists working on local and practical solutions. Watch this space and make your way to the registration page soon as this is going to be a popular conference in both New Zealand and Australia.

Source: Gizmag and others

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NZ Commodity Price Index - Nowhere to Hide

The ANZ Commodity Price Index declined 0.8% in October – its eighth consecutive monthly decline, albeit the second smallest since February. Nine commodities registered price falls, prices for six commodity prices increased, with prices for two unchanged. The index has fallen a cumulative 14% from the peak measured in February 2014.

The price of pelts recorded the greatest fall, sliding 14% from a month earlier. This is the seventh consecutive monthly decline in pelt prices and takes the series back down to a 22- month low. The next largest price decrease was for casein prices, which fell 4% to an 18-month low, with beef prices down 3%. Aluminium and wool prices both slipped 2%, while lamb and apples prices eased 1%. Very modest decreases (less than a 1/4%) were registered for seafood and timber export prices.

Kiwifruit led the commodity price increases, lifting 8% in the month, to a record high. Also noteworthy were lifts for skim and whole milk powder, cheese, and butter, which rose between 0.4 and 0.7% in the month, although prices are significantly lower than earlier in the year. Log prices rose 0.2%, while prices for wood pulp and venison were unchanged in the month.

Typically the NZD buffers commodity price movements and October was no exception. The value of the New Zealand dollar fell 2.1% on a TWI basis and experienced greater proportionate declines against the USD, and yen. Overall, the ANZ NZD Commodity Price Index recorded a 2.4% increase in the month of October, the strongest monthly increase in 18-months. The NZD index has recovered 4% in the past two months but remains 14% below its March 2011 peak.

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Steep slope technology German style

Until recently, fully mechanised short timber technology was not available for steep slopes. As a result, there is now a strong demand for suitable, high performance machinery that operates with as little ground damage as possible on sharp gradients at risk of erosion.

In recent years, HSM has spurred on steep gradient technology for wheel machines with several innovative solutions and invested further in this technology to satisfy the growing demands of its customers and to contribute towards their success. The "Force Synchro Drive" from HSM has helped HSM to make enormous strides forward. It was introduced for the first time in 2010 with the HSW-15 auxiliary traction winches. The increased cable capacity, the higher cable pulling forces and the more powerful drive system with optimised efficiency facilitate safe and quick manoeuvring on steep gradients.

The Force Synchro Drive distributes forces to the cable and the wheel drive in accordance with user specifications. Here, the force synchronous drive concept has clear advantages over conventional drive systems that work either speed synchronously or specify a constant cable force.

Once the user has preselected force distribution and the maximum cable force, the system regulates these forces automatically so as to avoid cable overload and above all ground damage.

The new HSW-15 winch, fitted to the rear of the HSM 405H2 8WD harvester. HSM uses the latest CAD development tools and its many years of cable winch expertise raise the performance of its auxiliary traction winches to new heights.

Source: HSM Forestry
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Network for Women in Forestry

The thirty sixth issue of the Network for Women in Forestry (NWIF) newsletter is full of useful information for women in forestry.

This issue talks about Kiwi women getting into industries that are traditionally male dominated. It also includes tips on protecting your business from a relationship breakdown, and an article about an employee whose dismissal during their trial period was justified. Enjoy…

Check it out here on the new and improved FICA website.

Please let us know if there is anything you have come across in the news that may be of interest to the Network for Women in Forestry readers.

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PCBU law reform - Good and bad

Model Act: The good, the bad and the ugly

Under the new health and safety legislation workplaces can expect an enforcement regime that focuses not on incidents, but on failures to assess and manage risks, according to an Australian expert in OHS law.

Michael Tooma told delegates to a recent LegalSafe conference series that he has an answer when a client tells him that despite having "done everything possible", if something should happen the courts will still find the company liable. "Now I can say that's not how it works any more. It's not about the incident any longer."

The Sydney-based head of occupational health, safety and security for Norton Rose Fulbright was sharing what he called "the good, bad and ugly" aspects of Australia's new OHS legislation, which became law a little over two years ago and is the template for New Zealand's own reforms. He said three significant benefits have arisen from Australia's new law, but there are also some major problems.

"Undoubtedly the greatest achievement of the legislation has been the introduction of the proactive due diligence obligation. It's done a marvellous job of raising health and safety issues to the boardroom agenda and has also realigned the legal duties around what we as safety practitioners understand as safety leadership."

The law spells out exactly how this is to be exercised. "[Officers] need to know what it is that they are dealing with, get an understanding of the risks at the coalface, and mobilise the resources, tools and systems to discharge those obligations, then monitor how effective they have been," he said.

"All of that is bread and butter stuff for a company executive. They do the same in relation to the myriad of other corporate governance issues that they are expected to manage, so the key achievement of the legislation has been to make safety an issue that can be dealt with in exactly the same way, and have the same level of acceptance."

As a result of these changes, he said, harder questions are now being asked of health and safety professionals, and they in turn are more able to request extra resources.

Another positive outcome is the obligation to have horizontal consultation where there are overlapping duties. "It's a wonderful thing because it forces people to think through the safety issues right at the beginning. It is bringing safety to the contract negotiations table in a way that I had not anticipated at the time the legislation was drafted."

The third benefit of the new law is that it has moved away from an employer-centric focus, he said. "We have moved from thinking about employer liability to consider which entities are responsible. This is a good thing because the further up the duty holder chain you go, the better the safety outcomes.

"Dealing with designers, manufacturers and suppliers, and controllers of plant and premises, has a far more remarkable effect on health and safety than prosecuting one employer after another."
The fact that Australia's first category 1 prosecution - the most serious type of offence - is against the company that maintained a concrete mixer involved in a fatal accident reflects this broader approach to liability, he said.
Among the negative aspects of the new regime, however, is the amount of time wasted on what Tooma regards as peripheral matters. Despite lengthy debate, confusion remains about who is or isn't a PCBU, and the definition of worker is also unnecessarily complicated.
"Someone went to a lot of trouble to come up with the broadest definition humanly possible, but because workers are excluded from the definition of PCBU one could argue that in a multi-level contract the developer is the only PCBU, which is nonsense. We have spent too much time talking about definitions, which is just spinning the wheels."

He is also critical of the time taken to begin taking prosecutions under the new law. "In the first six months it was like the regulators had been taken by surprise - nothing happened."

Subsequently regulators made full use of their two year limitation period, he said, with the result that the first case law is only now appearing. "Why is that bad? Because people are waiting to see what the courts say before they start taking any of this seriously."

The worst problem with the new Australian regime, however, are the inspectors who behave as if nothing has changed. "There is a whole bunch [of them] doing just what they did under the previous act, never mind that the sections they're relying on don't exist. One group even made up and issued their own notice, unbeknown to their bosses."

Compounding this problem is the fact that some prosecutions, including those of officers, still relate to incidents.

"If that continues, and the courts permit it, all the good work around the proactive nature of duties will be undone. If the focus is on what happened on the day rather than the proactive manner in which the officers have ensured compliance, every officer in the country will take the view that this is a stitch-up. If law is enforced in an ugly way it will be ugly, and our experience on the ground in the first two years has been real ugly."

Tooma had five recommendations for New Zealand workplaces ahead of the law change:
• Look closely at contractual arrangements, especially those coming up for renewal.
• Identify your officers and introduce a due diligence regime using the criteria in the Australian legislation.
• Review your systems and be prepared to amend them, as none of the Australian companies Tooma works with was fully compliant, despite believing they were.
• Look beyond the workplace, as the legislation has a broad focus that includes things like public safety and product liability.
• Investigate incidents and - even more importantly - near misses, as these provide the best opportunities for prevention at least cost.

Source: Westlaw NZ | Alert24

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Ocean Freight Index

The Baltic Supramax Index (BSI) closed on Friday at 875 points, a decrease of 77 points (or 9%) since October's report.

The BSI (Baltic Supramax Index), published by the Baltic Exchange, is the weighted average on 5 major time-charter routes. It is based on a 52,454 mt bulk carrier carrying commodities such as timber.

Source: Capital Link Shipping & RS Plateau

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Growth in Australia's timber industry

The Chairman of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the results of a business confidence survey and export statistics which both showed positivity in the sector.

ABARES Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics most recent report shows clear signs of recovery for companies responding to the survey. The first forest products industries annual business confidence survey suggested companies were emerging from the global financial crisis and are well positioned to help the economy weather the decline in the mining sector.

Speaking at an industry forum in Melbourne last week, AFPA Chairman Greg McCormack said, “This latest set of ABARES data shows an increase of value of 23.7 per cent in Australian wood product exports, a staggering 25.7 per improvement in woodchip exports and a record 2.4 million cubic metres of round log exports”. Employment in the forestry sector has also recovered to sit at 70,500 jobs in 2013-14.

“It is also pleasing to see that advanced manufacturing of paper and paperboard exports contribute 33.8 per cent of total wood product exports helping to provide a vibrant future for regional towns such as Tumut (NSW), Mt Gambier (SA), Albury (NSW/Vic) and Boyer in Tasmania”.

“The Australian forest products industry is well placed to take advantage of the emerging regional fibre boom and the Australian Government is to be congratulated for its ongoing support for the industry and its understanding that the industry needs a national fibre and forestry plan”.

“It should be noted however, that with the decline of managed investment schemes, tree planting for forest products has effectively come to a halt in Australia. Policies to promote greater innovation and value-adding of this fibre are gaining in importance and the 2015 budget will hopefully reflect the confidence that the Government has in the clearly demonstrated resilience of the industry”.

For a copy of the report click here: www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications

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$100,000 reparation ordered after worker dies on farm

A Southland farmer has been ordered to pay $100,000 reparation and fined an additional $52,000 over the death of a worker on his farm. The employee died in August last year when he was crushed between an excavator and some tree stumps while he was helping to clear scrub at the Orepuki farm run by Frederick McCullough.

The employee was 5 metres away from the excavator, which McCullough was driving, as it was dragging a log backwards.

McCullough was sentenced last week at the Invercargill District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee at work.

WorkSafe New Zealand chief investigator Keith Steward said scrub-clearing with an excavator posed an obvious risk to any worker on foot in the area.

"McCullough should have identified a 'safe area' on site and ensured the employee was in it before driving or slewing (turning) the excavator," Steward said.

"Safe areas are a simple but important way to protect workers."

The excavator could also have had rear-vision mirrors and a travel alarm that warned people when the machine started to move, he said.

"This case is a sad reminder of the risks faced by people who work around heavy vehicles and in uncontrolled settings," Steward said. "Those risks have to be managed and minimised."

The judge originally set the fine at $77,000 with reparation of $75,000, but at the request of the defence counsel apportioned $25,000 of the fine to reparations to go to the victim's wife.

To read additional reporting of this story click here

Source: Stuff.co.nz

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Know your drink drive limit: Lower limits coming

Please find some information on the new drink drive limit to be enforced from 1st December 2014 and some affordable tools to create awareness among your staff.

The Land Transport Amendment Act (no 2) 2014 to lower the drink-driving limits for adult drivers aged 20 years and over passed into law on 8 August 2014. The lower limits will come into force on 1 December 2014.

The Act lowers the breath alcohol limit for adult drivers from 400 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath, to 250mcg. The blood alcohol limit will reduce from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, to 50mg.

Drivers who commit an offence between 251-400mcg of breath will face infringement fee of $200 and will receive 50 demerit points. Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from driving offences within two years receive a three month driver licence suspension.

The zero alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 20 years remains the same.

Staying under the Limit

Estimating your BAC is often inaccurate because:
The alcohol concentration of drinks vary from 2.5 percent (eg - light beer) to over 40 percent (eg - vodka, whisky).

Beer may be served in pints, schooners or middies. Wine glasses may vary in size from 100 to 280mls. Many other drinks come in non-standard sizes.

Factors such as your gender, size, weight fitness, health and liver function will all affect your BAC. Also, the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from your system varies from person to person.

So, don't try to estimate your BAC. Measure it. Try using an Australian Standards approved (AS – 3547) breath testing device- Breathalyser/ Certified Disposable Breathalyser- Redline.

But remember:
-> Alcohol must not be consumed for at least 10 minutes before testing because alcohol in your mouth will give an artificially high reading.

-> Your BAC will rise for up to 2 hours after you stop drinking.

-> If you go out drinking and have a big night you may still be over the limit the next day so you may need to take another test in the morning.

Due to the festive season coming and also the change of the new drink-drive limit it is crucial that the awareness needs to be created among the staff and having certified disposable breathalysers will go a long way in maintaining the safety culture at work. It is empowering the people to take control and providing education around their BAC.

Let me know if you require any further information on the Redline disposable breathalysers- the only disposable certified breathalyser to AS3547.

Freecall Toll Free: 0800 2 TEST DRUG (0800 283 783)

Source: www.advancediagnostics.co.nz

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China economic update (continued)

Retail Sales and Inflation
Retail sales tracked lower in September, with nominal growth easing to 11.6% yoy (down from 11.9% in August) – the weakest rate of growth since February 2006. This trend was less negative in real terms – reflecting the low levels of inflation in recent times – with growth edging up to 10.8% yoy (from 10.6% last month). Sales of food and drink products and household goods recorded slower growth, with the former surprisingly weak at 7.5% yoy (down from 12% last month). In contrast, jewellery sales were up over 11% yoy – having fallen sharply across the first half of 2014. Inflation slowed in September, driven by softer growth in food prices. Consumer prices rose by 1.6% yoy (compared with 2.2% in August). Non-food prices eased to the lowest level since April 2010 at 1.3% yoy. Food price inflation slowed to 2.3% yoy in September (compared with 3.0% previously). Previously strong growth in eggs and fresh fruit prices was pared back, while prices for fresh vegetables have continued to fall. Producer prices fell once again – having fallen for thirty-one months in a row – down by -18% yoy in September. This deflation remains driven by heavy industry (down by -2.4% yoy), and trends are closely correlated to weaker global commodity prices.

Credit conditions
New credit – as measured by total social financing – edged higher in September to RMB 1050 billion. While this was the strongest level for new credit in the past three months, it was around 26% lower than September 2013. Bank loans continued to contribute the largest share of new credit in September, at RMB 807 billion (for both domestic and foreign currency loans) – accounting for over three-quarters of the total. Over the first nine months of 2014, new credit declined in year-on-year terms, down by -8.3% yoy. Bank loans have increased modestly – increasing by 3.4% yoy – while net corporate bond financing has grown strongly (at almost 19% yoy). Attempts to address concerns around the growth of shadow banking appear to have impacted on non-bank lending, with other financing contracting by -37% yoy over the first nine months of the year. This was led by trust and entrusted loans (two key components of China’s shadow banking sector), where new credit has fallen by -37% yoy.

Source: NAB

Construction Update:
Sept home prices fell for first time y/y in nearly two years
* Prices down 1.0 pct on month, fifth straight fall
* New home prices fell m/m in record 69 cities
* Sales improved on easier mortgages (Adds detail, GDP forecast, jobless rate)
Chinese home prices fell for a fifth straight month in September, wiping out gains scored in the past year and raising expectations the government will have to implement more economic support measures to cushion the blow. The monthly falls left average home prices in 70 major Chinese cities down 1.3 percent in September from a year earlier, the first such drop since November 2012.

New home prices fell month-on-month in a record 69 of the 70 major cities, up from 68 in August. Only the southern city of Xiamen saw stable prices last month, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed.

The worst performance was in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where prices sagged 7.6 percent in September from a year before. “The property downturn is still the main drag on the economy,” Wang Tao, an economist at UBS in Hong Kong, said in a note. “The negative impact of the ongoing property downturn is being felt not only in heavy industry, but also in manufacturing investment.”

The slowdown in the housing market followed GDP data showing the economy grew at its slowest rate since the 2008/2009 global financial crisis in the September quarter, adding to worries that it will drag on global growth.

Chinese officials have indicated they would be willing to tolerate slightly slower growth as long as the job market continued to hold up, so there was some relief in the form of steady unemployment data on Friday. China’s urban registered unemployment rate was 4.07 percent at the end of September, down slightly from 4.08 percent at the end of the second quarter, the labour ministry said.

Source: Reuters

via canadawood.org
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Thanks to FICA Sponsors

We would like to thank all of the organisations who support FICA, which in turn works to promote business growth and improved safety and efficiency amongst forestry contractors for the benefit of New Zealand's Forestry Industry.


Sweeney Townsend & Associates (INSURANCE SERVICES)

Gough CAT
Cableprice NZ Ltd
Mini-Tankers (Z Energy)
Komatsu Forest NZ
Shaw's Wire Ropes
GE Capital
Woodsman Pro
Blackwoods Protector

Timbersaws (Levin Sawmakers)
Total Lubricants
Active Equipment

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is Your Garage Door Boring…?

Some more interesting Garage Doors for you...

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... why we struggle with English ...

This is dedicated to anyone who is trying to learn English:

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.


and finally ... its bizarre but true - President Obama dislikes roundabouts ...
(according to stuff.co.nz anyway)

Before the recent 'G20' meeting in Brisbane last week it seems US officials requested that a roundabout outside the University of Queensland be demolished so President Barack Obama's G20 motorcade would not need to slow down, according to reports.

'The Australian' newspaper reported that the Secret Service request was turned down by Queensland authorities.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson said she was not aware of any request being made to Transport and Main Roads, and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment.

Have a safe and prosperous week.

John Stulen
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel +64 27 275 8011
Web www.woodweek.com

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