Monday, August 12, 2013

China Lumber, Log Imports Roar Back


Canada and Russia account for 80% of all lumber imported into China

SEATTLE, WA, Aug 10, 2013/ Troy Media/ – After a decline in importation of logs and lumber into China in 2012 and early 2013, the country came back roaring in the 2Q/13 with the import value increasing by more than 30 per cent year-over-year. The total value of imported softwood logs and lumber was over $2.2 billion in the 2Q/13, an increase by almost $600 million from the previous quarter.

The higher demand for wood products comes as house-building activities have increased in the first half of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012. Year-over-year, investments were up 13 per cent in residential buildings, and 23 per cent in commercial buildings, according to recently published official Chinese statistics.

During the past few years, importation of lumber has grown at a faster pace than that of log imports, with the share of lumber of the total import value having gone up from 35 per cent in 2010 to 42 per cent in the 2Q/13. The import volumes have almost tripled in four years with Russia and Canada having been the two major suppliers of softwood lumber: together they account for almost 80 per cent of all lumber imported to China in the 2Q/13.

European sawmills have not had a major presence in the Chinese wood market but this is changing. In June of this year, European shipments accounted for over eight per cent of the total lumber imports to China. It can be expected that more containers of lumber will find their way from Europe to China in the coming years.

The Chinese log import market, which once was completely dominated by Russia, has evolved over the past four years to a more diversified group of supplying countries. New Zealand has become the largest softwood log supplier to China, Russia’s presence has diminished, and the U.S. and Canada currently supply 25 per cent of all logs imported to China. Russia’s log exports to China are likely to continue to decline, but there will likely be opportunities for Russian sawmills to increase their shipments in the future.

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