Coniferous logs account for 73% of China's total log imports in 2013 at 32.93 million m3, up 23% year-over-year; hardwood log imports increase 9% to 12.23 million m3: ITTO

YOKOHAMA, Japan , April 2, 2014 () –

According to the latest statistics from China‘s Customs the value of the national wood products trade in 2013 was almost US$126 billion, a year on year increase of 6 percent. Of the total, imports value rose 4 percent to US$63.43 billion, exports value grew 9 percent to US$62.56 billion.

Log imports dominated by softwoods

China‘s log imports totalled 45.16 million cu.m valued at US$9.317 billion in 2013, up 19 percent and 28 percent respectively over 2013. The average landed price for imported logs was US$206 per cubic metre.

Of the total, coniferous log imports amounted to 32.93 million cu.m, or 73 percent of all log imports, a year on year increase of 23%. Last year New Zealand replaced Russia as the main log supplier to China. Hardwood log imports totalled 12.23 million cu.m, a year on year increase of 9% in volume. Tropical log imports rose 7 percent to about 9.33 million cubic metres, accounting for 21 percent of all hardwood log imports.  The value of tropical log imports grew 22 percent to US$3.571 billion.

China‘s imports fro m Russia fell 8 percent but imports from Ukraine, Myanmar, US, Australia, France and New Zealand increased sharply as can be seen in the table below.

Top 10 log suppliers to China
  Import volume
(million cu.m)
% of total imports Average price
(US$/cu.m) 
Total China 45.16 100 206
New Zealand 11.5 25 147
Russia 10.26 23 137
US 5.61 12 222
PNG 2.75 6.09 227
Canada 2.72 6.02 197
Solomon Is 2.04 4.51 198
Australia 1.74 3.86 127
Ukraine 1.39 3.08 131
Myanmar 0.97 2.15 552
France 0.68 1.5 190
Top ten 39.66 87.21  

Diversification of sawnwood sources intensifies

Sawnwood imports totalled 24.04 million cu.m in 2013 and were valued at US$830 million in 2013, up 16% in volume and 24% in value on the previous year. The average price for imported sawnwood was US$284 per cubic metre.

2013 imports of sawnwood came from a number of countries. Russia (29%), Canada (28%) and the US (11%). The pace of sawnwood imports from Sweden, Finland, Chile, Philippines and Thailand was significantly higher than in 2012.

Top 10 sawnwood suppliers to China
  Import volume
(million cu.m)
% of total imports Average price
(US$/cu.m) 
Total China 24.02 100 284
Russia 7.03 29.26 194
Canada 6.86 28.58 226
US 2.58 8 455
Thailand 1.9 6.09 227
Chile 0.82 3.43 256
Philippines 0.7 2.93 138
New Zealand 0.5 2.08 293
Finland 0.4 1.67 257
Sweden 0.369 1.54 250
Indonesia 0368 1.53 439
Top ten 21.527 90.02  

Specialty plywood imports drop further

While the plywood sector in China has been continued to expand in recent years on the back of strong domestic demand high quality plywood is still imported but have been falling in recent years as domestic manufacturers improve quality.

Plywood imports were 154,700 cubic metres valued at US$103 million in 2013, down 13 percent in volume and 13.75 percent in value fro m 2012. Ch ina‘s plywood imports in 2013 came from Malaysia and Indonesia which together accounted for 71 percent of all imported plywood.

Other wood-based panels are imported also. Fibreboard imports amounted to 156,200 tonnes, valued at US$101 million in 2013, up almost 8 percent in volume from 2012 levels. The main fibreboard suppliers to China were Thailand, Malaysia, Romania and Germany.

Particleboard imports totalled 381,400 tonnes valued at US$ 128 million in 2013, up 8 percent in volume and 9 percent in value from 2012. The main countries supplying particleboard to China were Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia.

Source: Tropical Timber Market Report, International Tropical Timber Organization, Yokohama, Japan.

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