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WhatWood Global Trends Review Global Trends Review, December 09-15, 2013: China creates national timber trading online system

Global Trends Review, December 09-15, 2013: China creates national timber trading online system

20 December 2013 ` 12:03  

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced the establishment of a Timber and Wood Products Spot Trading Platform, ITTO reported.

This trading platform will be open nationally and will provide a comprehensive timber industry service platform and will encompass trading, information and pricing centres to promote domestic and international market development.

The platform provides the opportunity for Chinese timber importers to form purchasing alliances to enhance their bargaining abilities so that Chinese companies will have a better negotiating position in the international timber trade, ITTO said.

About 400 contractors, managers and designers of the Chinese wood industry attended the Sino-Swedish Wood Day held on 10 December in Shanghai, Holzkurier reported. It had been organized by Swedish Wood and two Chinese industrial associations as a conference and exhibition double event. Eleven of the largest Swedish wood suppliers were present there. The event was part of a long-term strategy on the Chinese market. This year Swedish timber exports to China are expected to reach 400,000 m3.

China banned imports of ash logs and sawnwood as of 1 November 2013 from countries and regions where ash die-back occurs. This regulation affects a number of European countries and deliveries from Russia’s Kaliningrad region. Ash dieback is caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus previously known as Chalara fraxinea. It affected a high percentage of ash trees in continental Europe, most notably in Scandinavia (including Denmark, which has an estimated 90% of ash trees infected) and Baltic States.


Versowood acquires Hankasalmi mill from Vapo Timber. After the deal, joint sawmilling turnover of Versowood will reach €330 million. Vapo will use the sale proceeds to pay off debt.

The Hankasalmi mill has a turnover of about €60 million, its current output is 260,000m3 of lumber with a production mix of 60% pine and 40% spruce.

Versowood said the acquisition would make the company stronger, particularly in its planing and timber treatment business. It also expands Versowood’s wood procurement area to Central Finland and brings synergetic effect.

In the third quarter of 2013, the German DIY trade was able to reduce the turnover decline. For three months, overall turnover of the German DIY trade was €13.74 billion, which is still 3.4% below last year’s figure, while year-to-date indicators are 3.6% lower.

Oana Bodea, Chief Executive of Kronospan Romania, said that the company expects to reach a turnover of €115 million in 2013, while next year a 20% increase is expected. Nearly 65% of production from the Romanian Brasov plant is exported. This percentage has increased by 5% year-on-year due to good market developments in Asia and Africa.

Most export markets have grown last year, and OSB consumption grows by replacing timber, Bodea said. On the domestic market, however, construction activity stagnated all year. At the end of September 2013, Kronospan has finalized its €40 million investment at Brasov mill aimed at doubling OSB production up to 600,000 m3.

In November, softwood log prices remained almost unchanged in Central Europe, Holzkurier reported. The wood hunger is so great that sawmills continue purchasing on their usual levels despite the widespread tight earnings situation. Stora Enso, which had announced a purchasing freeze for logs with less than €5/m3 discount, remained somewhat isolated with their initiative.

The Austrian journal notes that probably Stora Enso’s appeal had its effect, as in November price hikes were not significant (€0.3 on October), and roundwood contracts are now being concluded for shorter periods.

Most sawmills of the region will shut down their lines from 20 December until at least 7 January, which can also take further pressure off the market.

Logs coming from the Czech Republic have eased much of the southern German and Austrian wood hunger this year. Whether this will be the same in 2014, is yet to be seen.

Two BHK pulp producers unexpectedly announced higher pulp prices from 1 January, 2014, EUWID Paper reported. The leading South American supplier of eucalyptus pulp caused a stir when it announced price hike, a Spanish manufacturer followed suit later on the same week.

In an official press release, the Danish DLH Group’s Board of Directors has announced its decision to take into account the possibility of disposing of its individual business areas, with the aim of delivering the greatest possible cash proceeds to its shareholders.

The company has gone through several optimization and rationalization programmes in the recent years. Recent analysis showed that “’interests of the shareholders and employees are best served by a disposal of the Group’s companies and operations”. Therefore, the Board has decided that the company should explore the possibility of disposing of individual business areas. Already, potential buyers have expressed an interest in selected assets, although only at an exploratory level.

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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