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WhatWood Global Trends Review Global Trends Review, May 19 – June 01, 2014: China’s domestic timber output share remained at 51%; European Q1 timber trade statistics

Global Trends Review, May 19 – June 01, 2014: China’s domestic timber output share remained at 51%; European Q1 timber trade statistics

10 June 2014 ` 01:16  

China’s domestic timber production rose 2% to 83.67 million m3 in 2013, ITTO reported. Timber imports (logs and sawnwood) rose 18% to 79.16 million m3 log equivalent, and the value of China’s timber imports grew 26% to $16.1 billion in 2013. In terms of volume, the proportion of domestic to imported timber in 2013 was 51:49 which is roughly similar to that in 2012.

Domestic timber is mainly used for fibreboard, mine timber and private purposes in rural areas while imported timber is mainly used for construction, home interior decoration and improvements and furniture production. Softwoods dominate China’s timber imports and have increased rapidly in recent years. China’s softwood timber imports were 57.18 million m3 in 2013 and have been growing at almost 20% per year since 2008.

In the early 2014, Finland, which was the main European exporter to China, slowed down its deliveries, with an increase of only 5% within two months, Fordaq reported. It left the lead to Sweden which accelerated exports by 63%. Germany managed to more than double its deliveries to China, up to almost €10 million. The first three exporting countries (Sweden, Finland and Germany) have an overall share of 87% of all European softwood lumber exports to China.

Finnish wood products output grew 5% in the first quarter to 2.7 million m3, Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF) said in its message. Plywood production amounted to 310,000 m3, 15% more than in January-March 2013. European exports showed signs of recovery, while domestic demand was very low due to the low level of residential construction. Nevertheless, some new industry investment projects were announced. FFIF member companies bought 8.5 million m3 of timber from private forests in Q1 – 25% more than a year ago.

Lumber exports from Finland in the first quarter increased 14% to 1.65 million m3, out of which 844,000 m3 (+18%) remained within Europe. As Holzkurier quotes the Federation, exports into all countries of the region increased. The largest consumer in Europe in the first three months was France with 176,000 m3 (+25%), followed by the UK (173,000 m3; +3%) and Germany (134,000 m3; +13%). In Egypt, 258,000 m3 of Finnish softwood lumber (+26%) landed in the first quarter. With 239,000 m3, Japan reduced imports by 5% from the same period last year. However, this decline was offset, for example, by higher sales to Algeria (134,000 m3; +54%).

Latvia’s forest industry exports continued to rise in the first quarter, the Baltic Course reported, to reach €498.9 million (+14.5%). The largest export markets were UK, Sweden and Germany (14.1%, 12.5% and 11.5% of sales respectively). Imports were also on an upward trend in the first quarter, reaching €172.9 million, which is 24.1% more than in 2013.

British imports of sawn and planed lumber have increased in value by 33% in the first two months of 2014, according to Eurostat figures. All three major European suppliers increased deliveries: Sweden (+42%), Finland (+18%), and Latvia (+51%). Sweden remained the largest softwood lumber supplier to the UK, delivering over half of the volume. Though with lower values, imports from Russia almost doubled up to €9 million, while those from Canada rose by 43%.


The European Commission has decided to outsource parts of the EUTR Monitoring Organisation accreditation process, as it has fallen substantially behind schedule, EUWID Wood Products reported. As early as January, the Finnish consulting company Indufor has been awarded the corresponding contract. Indufor will examine applications that the Commission has not yet started to assess and will give recommendations. However, the final decision about MO accreditation remains in the hands of the Commission. Indufor expects to complete the assessment of the applications by the end of 2015.

Also, the European Commission is soon likely to appoint two to three additional monitoring organizations (MO) for the EUTR. GD Holz industry association (Germany) will likely be among the accredited MOs. So far, four MOs have been accredited, while in total 35 applications were submitted.

Steico has announced that its planned €60-million LVL factory in Poland will commence construction in July 2014, with production due to start in early 2016, TTJ reported. The company has almost secured the project funding and will receive a 10-year tax exemption linked to the Czarna Woda development site.

The company already produces hardboard and wood fibre insulation board (WFIB) at the site and is also going to increase WFIB capacities there.

The plant is expected to produce annually 80,000 m3 of parallel and cross-wise glued LVL in thicknesses of 20-90 mm on Raute equipment. The system will be of modular design so capacity can be increased at a later stage, the British journal reported. Steico said the product has seen increased demand in recent years.

The company now sources LVL from Russia and Finland for its structural beam and I-joist flange products, so investing into the plant will increase the added value and reduce risks on the procurement side. Steico expects it will improve the operating margin significantly.

The duty-free quota for softwood plywood imports into the EU has recently filled more quickly again, EUWID said. As of 21 May, 86% or 559,151 m3 were used up. A year ago, this figure stood only at 75%. The journal predicts that the quota will end up in June, as it was in 2009.

Drax Group is going to build additional pellet capacities in the US. The British company is already building two 450,000-tonne plants in Missisippi and plans another capacity in this state, Biomass Magazine reported. Earlier company CEO Dorothy Thompson has already announced plans to develop additional 2 million tonnes of pellet capacity in the US. The company is also building a $30-million storage at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

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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