Softwood lumber imports to Japan increase by 20.63% in first five months to 2,965,000 m3, softwood plywood imports surge 200% to 81,992 m3

LOS ANGELES , August 18, 2011 () – Japan imported 2,965,000 m3 of softwood lumber in the first five months of 2011, up 20.63% from the 2,458,000 m3 imported in the same period last year according to the latest statistics from the Japan Wood Products Information and Research Center in Tokyo.

Of that total, North America shipped the highest volume at 1,099,000 m3, Europe accounted for 1,088,000 m3 and Russia for 414,000 m3.

Lumber prices weakened in May by 2.5% and fell a further 0.3% in June, the report said.

Softwood plywood imports surged 200% from 27,252 m3 to 81,992 m3 in the same period, with Canada and China recording the largest gains at 21.270 m3 and 12,248 m3 respectively.

Hardwood plywood imports grew 20% in the period from 1,054,940 m3 last year to 1,272,269 m3. Malaysia and Indonesia took the largest share of this sector with a percentage increase of around 18% each, with Malaysia accounting for 705,039 m3 and Indonesia for 400,578 m3.

MDF imports into Japan rose 43.36% to 130,739 tons from 91,194 tons in the first five months of 2010, with the largest gains coming from Malaysia and New Zealand. Malaysia increased volumes from 31,885 tons to 46,815 tons and New Zealand increased its MDF exports from 50,068 tons to 67,608 tons.

While wood products sectors showed significant gains, log imports fell in the five-month period, by 4.7% from 1,935,000 m3 in 2010 to 1,844,000 m3.

Only two supply regions increased their trade with Japan: New Zealand by 4.8% from 310,000 m3 to 325,000 m3; and Europe by 27.8% from 18,000 m3 to 23,000 m3. Although North American volumes dropped 5% year-over-year, they continued to represent the highest volume at 1,173,000 m3.

Imported log prices generally fell by 3.1% in May and 1.6% in June.

The primary source of this article are statistics issued in August by the Japan Wood Products Information and Research Center, Tokyo.

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