Chinese lumber production increasing 60% in five years
Despite the fact that China has a simple, unsophisticated and labour-intensive sawmill industry, the country is ranked as the world’s third-largest lumber producer (after the U.S. and Canada), with over 28 million m3 of reported sawn lumber production in 2007 and 2008, and 32.3 million m3 (20 billion bf, nominal) in 2009. Due to the nature of China’s sawmill industry - thousands of very small sawmills producing lumber for furniture factories, local builders, interior finish, packaging, construction, etc. - it is likely that official sawn lumber production is grossly understated. The total volume is estimated to be as much as 40 or even 50 million m3 per year.Major reductions in the domestic timber harvest (from 1995 to 2002) led to a declining domestic lumber production trend between 1995 and 2000. However, expanding log imports (mainly from Russia) and rising domestic log supply have supported fast growth of sawn lumber output since 2001. Since 2008, as a result of a major decrease in Russian log imports due to the Russian log export tax and higher delivered log prices, Chinese sawmills have had to depend more heavily on other countries (e.g., New Zealand and North America’s Pacific coast), and domestic plantations, for softwood logs.
Domestic lumber production is forecast to expand from 32.3 million m3 in 2009 to more than 50 million m3 by 2015 (60%+, or an average increase of more than three million m3 per year).
Source: International Wood Markets Group, http://www.woodmarkets.com/