Business Trends Abroad

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Brazil – Brazilian exports of wood-based products (except pulp and paper) decreased 35 percent in value compared to last year, from US$503.3 million to US$329.2 million.

The value of wooden furniture decreased from US$58.8 million in the second quarter of 2022 to US$52.1 million in the same period of 2023, an 11 percent fall.

Tropical sawnwood exports dropped 34 percent in volume, from 43,900 cubic meters last year’s second quarter to 29,000 cubic meters this year. Value exports fell 21 percent from US$18.8 million to US$14.9 million over the same period.

Pine sawnwood exports declined 12 percent in value between last year, at US$84.6 million and this year at US$74.5 million. In volume, exports increased four percent over the same period from 295,200 cubic meters to 306,300 cubic meters.

Pine plywood exports faced a 37 percent decline in value in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, from US$101.9 million to US$63.8 million. In volume, exports fell 18 percent over the same period, from 239,200 cubic meters to 195,900 cubic meters.

As for tropical plywood, exports also declined in volume by 46 percent and in value by 44 percent, from 5,900 cubic meters and US$3.4 million in the second quarter of last year to 3,200 cubic meters and US$1.9 million over the same period last year.

Ghana – Ghana exported 13 different wood products to international markets during the first 2 months of 2023 valued at Eur19.92 million which was slightly higher compared to the Eur19.26 million for the same period in 2022.

According to a Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) report, total wood product exports in the first quarter, which is the most current data available, were up to 45,312 cubic meters. This included shipments to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that totaled 3,975 cubic meters valued at Eur1.45 million, a decline of almost 25 percent in volume and 29 percent in value compared to the same period in 2022 (5,291 cubic meters valued at Eur2.02 million).

The data showed that the overall average unit price (AUP) recorded for the ECOWAS market for the first quarter of 2023 (Eur364/cubic meters) was also lower than that in 2022 (Eur383/cubic meters). Niger and Benin recorded Eur410/cubic meters and Eur401/cubic meters in 2023.

Of total wood product exports, 62 percent went to Asia, 16 percent to Europe, 12 percent to Africa and the balance went to America and the Middle East.

Of the total wood products exports to African markets the ECOWAS sub-region market recorded the largest share at Eur1.45 million (66 percent).

United Kingdom – UK imports of tropical sawnwood were 35,000 cubic meters in the first four months of this year, six percent less than the same period in 2022.

Although UK imports of this commodity appear to have held up reasonably well compared to other tropical products this year, a larger share has been sourced indirectly from the EU and not direct from the tropics.

There has been a large increase in UK imports of tropical hardwood sawnwood (HS 4407) from Brazil this year is also offset by a significant decline in imports of Brazilian tropical hardwood decking/mouldings (HS4409).

Therefore, it may be that reported trends for both commodities are distorted by changes in the way products from Brazil are being categorized respectively as “sawnwood” and “mouldings.”

UK imports of tropical sawnwood from Cameroon were 10,000 cubic meters in the first four months of 2023, 19 percent less than the relatively high level in the same period in 2022.

UK tropical sawnwood imports from Malaysia, which revived to some extent last year after many years of decline, fell by 62 percent in the first four months of this year to 3,200 cubic meters.

Imports of tropical sawnwood from Brazil were reported as 4,100 cubic meters in the first four months of this year, a gain of 199 percent compared to the same period in 2022. UK tropical sawnwood imports also increased in the first four months this year from Republic of Congo, up 50 percent to 1,600 cubic meters, Guyana up 50 percent to 1,200 cubic meters and Ghana up 90 percent to 1,000 cubic meters.

Indirect UK imports of tropical sawnwood via the EU recovered more ground despite the Brexit disruption, increasing 14 percent to 10,000 cubic meters in the first four months of 2023.

To some extent, UK’s continuing dependence on indirect imports of tropical sawnwood from the EU is due to a shortage of kiln drying space in African supply countries combined with lack of any hardwood kiln dying capacity in the UK.

While future market conditions are uncertain, reports of sufficient landed stocks of Sapele, the UK’s preferred tropical wood are facing long and uncertain timelines for shipping from the main tropical supply countries. UK importers are choosing to fill gaps in stocks as they arise by cross-trading with other importers.

Vietnam – The export of wood and wooden products, in Vietnam, continued to trend downward in early 2023 with export values hitting US$5.1 billion to mark a year-on-year fall of 27 percent.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, May alone witnessed the nation’s export value of wood and wooden products stand at an estimated US$1.2 billion, up by 10 percent against April but down by 14 percent against May 2022.

Most notably, the second quarter saw exports of wooden products reach US$801 million, up 3 percent quarter-on-quarter but down by 16 percent year-on-year. Wooden furniture represented the key export item accounting for 60 percent of total exports of wood and wood products.

Throughout the first two quarters of 2023 the export value of wooden furniture fell sharply by 38 percent against the same period from last year due to slowing global demand. High inflation across the world has forced consumers to tighten their spending as they seek to decrease demand for nonessential goods such as wood products.

Those factors have led to Vietnamese export value of wood and wooden products plunging during the reviewed period.

Japan – There has been a noticeable halt in the declining prices of domestic logs and lumber in Japan recently. The prices of laminated Whitewood posts and laminated Cedar posts, which are competitors to kiln-dried Cedar posts, have reached their lowest point, leading to controlled inventory of imported lumber.

Since the spring of 2021, the demand and supply of Japan’s domestic lumber have been closely intertwined with the demand and supply of imported lumber. Consequently, as the inventory of imported lumber decreases, the availability of domestic lumber is expected to tighten.

There is a shortage of low-quality Whitewood studs, and the production of Cedar studs is unable to meet the demand. The price of 3-meter 20 x 105/ 45 x 105 millimeter Cedar kiln-dried studs is currently around 70,000 yen per cubic meter, including delivery. The price of Cedar squares in some markets has fallen below 70,000 yen, causing concern among sellers about the possibility of further price reductions. Lumber companies have found it challenging to lower the price, resulting in price stabilization.

As lumber prices declined, log prices followed suit. The price of Cedar logs used for lumber or plywood showed weakness from the Northeastern to Kyushu regions of Japan. In Eastern Japan, the price of Cedar logs has been decreasing since February 2023, while Western Japan saw a decline starting in April 2023, resulting in different Cedar log prices between the two regions.

In Eastern Japan, the price of 4-meter Cedar logs for lumber plants, laminated lumber plants and plywood plants is approximately 11,000 to 12,000 yen, which is about 1,000 yen lower than the previous month. In the Kanto region, the price of 3-meter Cedar logs is around 12,000 yen, while in the Kyushu area, it ranges from 14,000 to 17,000 yen.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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