Global Timber and Wood Products update
June 4, 2013, Seattle, U.S. – Chinese demand for lumber and logs has had a resurgence, with importation during the first four months of 2013 being more than 10 per cent higher than the same period in 2012, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
The total value of North American imports was up 30 per cent from 2012.
The housing sector, a major consumer of imported lumber, has been strong in early 2013, and prices for new houses in 70 cities rose on average by more than four per cent in April, up from 3.1 per cent in March, 2013, according to national statistics. So far this year, the housing construction sector has outperformed better than the manufacturing, trade, investment and personal consumption sectors.
North America is a major supplier of softwood products to China, with the market share for lumber and logs in the 1Q/13, accounting for 51 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. In 2012, Canada and the U.S. exported logs and lumber valued at more than $3 billion, which was down 23 per cent from 2011. During the first four months of this year, the import value for softwood logs and lumber from North America totaled $940 million billion dollars, an increase of over 30 per cent from the same period in 2012.
New Zealand’s log-exporting companies continue to expand their presence in China. In 2012, New Zealand was the only country that expanded shipments when total Chinese log imports fell by 15 per cent. Russia has for many years been the major log supplier to China, but in the 1Q/13, Russia and New Zealand both had a market share of close to 33 per cent after year-over-year shipments were up almost 50 per cent from New Zealand and down by 18 per cent from Russia.
The biggest change in the Chinese buyers’ sourcing of lumber has been the doubling of importation from Chile and the almost tripling in shipments from Sweden and Finland. Although these three countries still account for less than 10 per cent of all imports, it is likely that their presence in China will expand in the coming years.