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WhatWood Global Trends Review Global Trends Review, September 22 – October 05, 2014: Romania stands out as large & growing lumber supplier; Chinese prices fall on high lumber stocks

Global Trends Review, September 22 – October 05, 2014: Romania stands out as large & growing lumber supplier; Chinese prices fall on high lumber stocks

13 October 2014 ` 01:16  

Holzindustrie Schweighofer has completed installation works at its new glulam line at the Radauti plant in Romania, Holzkurier reported. The capacity will be 100,000 m3, in addition to existing 140,000 m3. Contrary to initial announcements, there will be no additional glulam line installations at Reci mill, Romania.

The company is Romania’s largest exporter in the wood industry, being 16th in the total exporters rating of the country, as Fordaq says quoting a study in the Romanian magazine Business Construct. Other major players from the wood industry are Kronospan (44th) and Kastamonu (96th). Romanian exports of wood and wood products, except furniture, doubled between 2008-2013, reaching €1.9 billion. Such an increase posed some problems to the Romanian furniture industry, on the other hand, this brought massive foreign investments. These investments and the expanding number of companies which buy Romanian wood, especially Chinese, have also raised timber prices. For example, at roundwood auctions organized by Romanian authorities, a price increase of 32% was registered in 2014, compared to 2013.

The country is largely dependent on the MENA market, Holzkurier says, as in the first half-year 64% of all exported lumber came to this region, which amounts to 686,000 m3. Romania’s largest markets here are UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.

Combined, the five European suppliers – Sweden, Finland, Romania, Germany and Austria shipped 4.73 million m3 of softwood lumber to the MENA market in the first half-year. Scandinavian countries rely heavily on Egypt, although not as much as Romania. Meanwhile, Austria fails to deliver large volumes of lumber to this market, which is probably explained by the fact that this region needs rather pine than spruce. Egypt leads the MENA market, followed by Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Israel. The region absorbs mainly low-grade timber, for instance, average prices for German lumber are €172/m3 in Algeria and €186/m3 in Saudi Arabia.

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Zhu Guangqian, a consultant for the China National Forest Product Industry Association has said that current stocks of imported timber exceed domestic demand and many timber traders fear they will lose money on recent imports, ITTO reported. Despite the high stocks the level of imports continues to expand.

Prices for imported logs began to increase in the second quarter of 2013 and Chinese traders began to raise imports but as demand cooled stocks rose and from April this year prices for imported logs began to fall. For example, from the middle of this year prices for imported logs from North America fell by $10-11/m3, for Russian logs – around $5, for Scots pine from Europe – by $10.

Analysts estimate current stock at around 5 million m3, up over 52% from the beginning of this year. Most of this stock is of timber imported in the first quarter of this year when prices were firm. The current state of the Chinese wood and timber industry was covered extensively in WhatWood’s Russian Timber Journal #14.

New regulations have been introduced by the Taicang Port Authority (China) to ensure that the shippers of wood products provide an accurate and detailed packing list. The new regulations came into effect on 1 October 2014. Detailed measurement of logs shall now include volume, quality, grade and species, without which the shipment will not be processed on arrival. Each batch of imported logs from Canada must also be accompanied by an electronic specification in accordance with the Canadian standard, and volumes from now on will be converted from board feet to cubic metres using the Chinese national standard before shipments are processed.

New Zealand’s shift toward log trade and away from softwood sawn timber has continued and even accelerated during some months this year, TTJ wrote. Exports of sawn timber fell during the first six months of 2014 by 14% from a year ago to 843,000 m3, while log exports were up 8% at 8.46 million m3. New Zealand exported about 56% of its log harvest in the first six months of 2013 due to robust foreign demand, especially from China, which buys almost two-thirds, the journal concludes.

Exports of wood products from Japan have been increasing consistently and the amount of the export for the first half of this year was yen 8.164 billion ($75.24 million), 51.1% more than the same period of last year, ITTO reported. Log exports were yen 3.165 billion ($29.17 million), 173.8% more than the same period of last year. Weaker yen made the Japanese logs much more competitive so the log exports to China, Korea and Taiwan has been climbing rapidly. Lumber and plywood export deliveries have also increased by 13.9% and 23.4% respectively. Logs for China are mainly C grade logs for crating lumber and engineering works. Bad weather conditions in Japan during summer, meanwhile, hampered log production, so the home market may see rise of prices soon.

The Japanese government is going to double forest products exports by 2020 to yen 25 billion ($230.4 million). To this purpose, country’s forestry agency finances product promotion, seminars and exhibitions, as well as making guidance manuals, ITTO concluded.

WhatWood’s reviews are prepared using corporate press releases, Holzkurier, Timber Trades Journal, Fordaq, EUWID Wood Products, ITTO, ForestTalk, and EUWID Paper.

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