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China MDF soaring as rest of the World slows

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
October 25th, 2010
Publisher Name: 
International Forest Industries
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Timber Procurement


Global MDF capacity reached 72.9 million m3 in 2009 - an increase of 4.0 million m3 (+5.8%) over 2008. In 2009, China remains the world’s largest MDF-producing country at 32.5 million m3 - that’s 45% of world capacity! As reported earlier this year by WOOD MARKETS, China’s MDF capacity has been consistently underestimated by outside sources and the new capacity figures are some 35% higher than as reported last year. Europe comes in second at 19.1 million m3 of world capacity, while “other Asia” produced 7.3 million m3, South America 6.3 million m3 and North America 4.5 million m3.

In 2009, Asia’s MDF capacity of 39.8 million m3 was led by China at 32.5 million m3. In last year’s report, China’s MDF capacity for 2008 was under-reported at 18.8 million m3, with 22.1 million m3 predicted for 2009. When the correct capacity volumes are incorporated for China, its MDF capacity volume is now a whopping 30.1 million m3 and 32.5 million m3 for 2008 and 2009 respectively. At the end of 2009, the latest sources showed 700 lines (over 100 are continuous presses) in China for 32.5 million m3 capacity (whereas the old sources showed 433 lines for 22.1 million m3 capacity). For 2010, more MDF lines are projected and this could boost China’s capacity by another 4.6 million m3, moving the total to 37.1 million m3 for 2010 and over 38.2 million m3 for 2011 and beyond.

By the end of 2009, overall European MDF capacity had grown by 3.4% over 2008 (less than half of the previous year’s change), bringing the total to 19.1 million m3. Delays and postponements in several eastern European/Russian mills and several closures (in France and Germany) accounted for this less-than-expected increase. In 2009, North American capacity fell by 10% to about 4.8 million m3 as more than six mills have closed since 2008 - a net capacity loss of about 550,000 m3. This is following the 10% drop (approximately 450,000 m3) in 2008 versus 2007. In response to weak market conditions, MDF mills have shut down or curtailed some lines and now just 20 mills remain in 2009 - 15 in the U.S. and five in Canada.

South America has also been active, with up to four lines starting production in Brazil. Capacity was at 6.3 million m3 in 2009. Two new (unconfirmed) lines in India have been reported, and one expansion was reported in each of Pakistan and Korea. In Japan, Australia and New Zealand, where economies are struggling, the situation has been very quiet.

Global MDF capacity has been forecast to reach about 80 million m3 in 2010 (a huge increase of seven million m3 (+10%) and 83 million m3 in 2011. Realistically, this seems unlikely until global economic stability and growth occur (although five to six million m3 of this growth is in China, so it could actually occur!).

Source: International Wood Markets Group,



Extpub | by Dr. Radut