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Chinese log imports taking a dive in 2009

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Issue date: 
August 2nd, 2010
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Timber Procurement


Due to the global recession that began in the second half of 2008, China’s total log imports declined in 2009 to 28.1 million m3 (-5.1%). The unexpected turnaround in the Chinese economy, starting in Q2/2009, significantly moderated the falling trend in Chinese log import volumes for the year. China’s log imports were valued at about US$4.1 billion, down 21% by value from 2008. reports International Wood Markets Group, The total decrease in log imports from 2007 to 2009 was a whopping nine million m3 - a staggering 24%.

The main log exporters to China in 2009 included the following:

  • Russia, which remained the largest supplier of logs to China, exporting a total of 14.8 million m3 of logs valued at US $1.74 billion (52.8% and 42.5% respectively of the total).
  • New Zealand (4.4 million m3, accounting for 15.7%), whose log exports soared by 132% in 2009 over 2008.
  • Other large hardwood suppliers include Papua New Guinea (1.66 million m3, 5.9%); the Solomon Islands (1.12 million m3, 4%); and Gabon (1.1 million m3, 3.9%).
  • In 2009, Australia’s log imports increased by 70% (from 430,000 m3 to 732,000 m3).
  • U.S. log imports expanded by 91% (from 398,000 m3 to 760,000 m3).
  • Softwood log imports from Canada rose by 80% in 2009 (from 207,000 m3 to 372,000 m3).
  • China log imports in 2010 are projected at about 31 million m3 - still some six million m3 below the peak level of 2007.

Rising demand and reduced Russian log imports due to higher costs have caused the average price of China’s log imports to rise steadily. The hiccup in 2009 was a result of the global recession, and log prices are sharply higher in the first half of 2010. WOOD MARKETS released its new report, China Book - Outlook to 2015 at the end of June. Source: International Wood Markets Group,


Extpub | by Dr. Radut