India's wood imports show impressive growth rates!
New Delhi, Nov. 10, 2009 (RISI) - Although the growth in softwood log imports in India is impressive, at least 80% of India's log imports are hardwood. Teak logs are imported from Myanmar, various African countries, and Central and South America. According to ITTO data, prices for teak logs imported into India range from less than $300/m3 for logs from Panama to more than $500/m3 for logs from some African countries. Of course, prices for larger, older teak from Myanmar can command much higher prices.
But India imports other hardwoods besides teak, and the country's role in Asia's hardwood log market has been growing rapidly. We estimate that India's share of the "major country" hardwood log market in Asia (including China, Japan, South Korea, and India) has increased from about 15% in 2000 to almost 30% in 2009. For Malaysia in particular, India has become a very important log market. Malaysian log shipments to India exceeded those to China beginning in 2006, and in 2009 some 59% of Malaysian log exports went to India, in the January-July period.
This growing importance of India in the international log markets is intriguing, but the pulp and paper sector in India is also growing rapidly. I'll have the chance to see some of this in-person, and to meet representatives from many of the Indian companies, at RISI's first conference in India next month. The RISI Indian Seminar ("Opportunities and Challenges for India in the Global Pulp and Paper Industry") will take place in New Delhi on December 3, 2009 (www.risi.com/indianseminar), and should be a great opportunity to gain insight on the future for this very interesting market.
Bob Flynn is Director, International Timber, and co-author of the 2007 RISI publication "India's Forest Products Industry" (www.risi.com/india).