Imports to China reach new highs in Q2/13
By Hakan Ekstrom
August 2, 2013, Seattle - After a decline in importation of lumber into China in 2012 that continued into early 2013, the import value increased by more than 30 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter of this year, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. The total value of imported softwood logs and lumber increased by almost $600 million from the previous quarter to over 2.2 billion dollars in the 2Q/13.
Official Chinese Statistics show an increased investment in the housing sector in the first half of 2013 caused a higher demand for wood products with residential building investments up 13 per cent and 23 per cent in commercial buildings year over year.
Lumber imports have grown more quickly over the past few years than log imports. The total import value of lumber has gone up from 35 per cent in 2010 to 42 per cent in the second quarter of this year. Canada and Russia are China's two major suppliers of softwood lumber presently providing almost 80 per cent of the country's lumber imports.
European sawmills have not had much participation in the Chinese wood market but their presence is increasing. European shipments accounted for over eight per cent of Chinese lumber imports in June and it can be expected that more European lumber will be imported in the coming years.
Previously dominated by Russia, the Chinese log market has diversified over the past four years with New Zealand coming out on top as the largest softwood log supplier to China. Canada and the U.S. currently supply 25 per cent of Chinese log imports but Russian sawmills will be jockeying for a better position in the future.