AUSTRALIA — Australian timber prices may have fallen from their Covid pandemic spikes but the respite might be short-lived, creating a headache for the critical housing sector and its role in helping address a severe shortfall in new homes. The housing industry is being hit by opposing forces, with rising interest rates designed to cool demand at the same time as a housing shortage stirs it. An impending resumption of the timber export trade to China is also raising questions over whether Australia has enough local supplies to meet its own requirements. …Two big forces are crashing against each other. Developers are holding off building tens of thousands of homes across Australia, despite already gaining planning approval, because of high construction costs. …“Australia needs one billion new timber trees planted to meet growing future demand,” the Australian Forest Products Association says.