China imports 15% less sawlogs
The slowing economy in China has reduced the importation of logs from New Zealand, Russia and the US by about 15% during the first six months of 2012. Prices for imported and domestic softwood logs in China have fallen this year by 14% and 10%, respectively as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly.China’s phenomenal GDP growth of between 9 and 14% annually over the past decade slowed down last year and is forecasted by International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be “only” 8.25% in 2012. Reduced investments in public projects and a cooling residential property market have resulted in a decline in the importation of sawlogs during the first six months of 2012.
Softwood log imports in the first and second quarter this year were 6.2 million m3 and 6.6 million m3, respectively, down from all-time high of 8.6 million m3 seen in the 3Q/11, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The total imports for the first half of 2012 were 15% lower than during the same period last year, with the biggest declines occurring in shipments from Russia, the US and Australia.
Western Canada is the only major supplier that has increased shipments so far this year; annual shipments may reach over 2.5 million m3, which would be a record high.
The reduced demand for logs in China has not only impacted import volumes, but also prices for domestic and imported logs. The average price for imported softwood logs was down 14 % from 2Q/11 to 2Q/12. Prices for New Zealand Radiata pine logs dropped the most, while red pine logs from Russia showed the smallest price drops as compared to other species of imported softwood logs.