The forestry and timber industry may be poised for a recovery amid signs of improvement in the Kiwi and US construction markets, but industry players say it could be a delicate one.
According to industry figures, timber exports from New Zealand appear to have bottomed, with $774.5 million worth of cut lumber sold overseas in 2012, up from $770.4m in 2011, although more timber was sold at a lower unit price.
That's poised to pick up in the year ahead, according to forecasts from the Timber Industry Federation, as construction activity picks up due to the Christchurch earthquake rebuild and a rise in home building activity in Auckland.
Asian demand for New Zealand cut timber and logs is also expected to grow as North American timber supplies tighten due to a recovery in the United States home construction market.
Official figures show US builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since 2008, with pent up housing demand in the world's biggest economy boosting construction activity.