Timber Exports Continue Uptrend


Russian softwood lumber exports to China increased by 23 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017 and six percent amongst other export destinations with China accounting 57 percent of total exports.


According to Russian customs data, exports to South Korea increased by 42 percent year-on-year, while deliveries to Japan were slightly better as well.


Exports to the eleven most important European markets increased by five percent with notable growth in the exports to Finland and the Netherlands, while exports to Germany and the UK dropped by six percent and three percent respectively.


From July to September 2017, Russia exported a total of 7.23 million cubic metres of softwood at a value of US$995.7 million, making an increase of eight percent and 15 percent in terms of volume and value. 



Finnish exports of softwood lumber and planed lumber increased by 15 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017 to 2.07million cubic metres. 


According to the Finnish customs, deliveries to customers in Europe rose by nine percent to 812,148 cubic metres. 


At 646,006cubic metres, exports to East Asia were 59 percent above the figure of the previous year. Exports to the Near and Middle East increased by five percent, while deliveries to North Africa, in contrast, fell short of the preceding year’s figure by 12 percent.


In the third quarter of 2017, Finnish suppliers exported 1.92 million cubic metres of rough-sawn softwood lumber, constituting a value of €359 million. The notional value of exported softwood lumber per cubic metre therefore increased slightly to an average of €187/cubic metre.


Planed lumber exports amounted to a volume of 147,005cubic metres, a year-on-year increase of 39 percent to €41.8 million. The value per exported cubic metre of planed lumber thus has increased by 10 percent to €284/m³. 


Accumulated over the first nine months of 2017, a nine percent increase in exports was recorded to 6.90 million cubic metres. Deliveries to EU countries increased by seven percent to 2.64 million cubic metres. 


The most significant increase rates recorded for exports in Estonia was 38 percent, Austria 26 percent, Belgium 22 percent and in Italy 17 percent. Only marginal increases were recorded for exports to the UK reaching five percent, to Germany getting four percent and France by two percent.



According to Belstat, softwood lumber delivering to EU countries has increased by 45 percent to 514,427cubic metres between July and September in 2017. 


Due to the below-average increase, however, as a proportion of Belarusian exports as a whole this constitutes a decline by five percentage points to 87 percent. Deliveries to GIS states, albeit it from a comparatively low starting level, has increased by 148 percent to 69,350cubic metres.


In the third quarter of 2017, Belarusian sawmills exported 594,082cubic metresof rough-sawn and planed softwood lumber at a value of US$68.9 million. 


In terms of volume and value, this corresponds to a year-on-year increase of 54 percent and 65 percent respectively. The notional value per exported cubic metre of softwood lumber, at US$116/cubic metre, was seven percent higher.


Accumulated over the first nine months of 2017, exports increased by 56 percent to 1.62 million cubic metres, corresponding to an export value of US$181.4 million. Deliveries to EU countries have increased by 45 percent to 31.42 million cubic metres, while deliveries to the GIS states tripled to 168,100cubic metres.


New Zealand

New Zealand log exports hit a new record last year, underscoring local manufacturer's concerns the country is sending too many unprocessed logs overseas, posing a threat for local timber supply in the future and undermining the goal to add more value to exports.


The country exported NZ$2.41 billion of softwood logs in the first 11 months of last year, surpassing all previous records for a full year, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures.


New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for logs from China, which has clamped down on harvesting its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet local demand.


In the first 11 months of 2017, New Zealand exported a record NZ$1.81 billion of logs to China, accounting for 75 percent of softwood exports.


Increased shipments of raw logs goes against the aim of successive governments to add more value to commodities and riles the wood processing sector, which says more manufacturing needs to be done at home to sustain the local industry. It says an upswing in demand for wooden housing could see supply having to be met from overseas if the current situation prevails.


The country’s timber industry started this year in a more upbeat mood with the new coalition government's commitment to re-establish the Forest Service, plant more trees, focus on regional economic development, require greater scrutiny of overseas investment in forestry, and change the Emissions Trading Scheme.


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