Log exports from Russia have plummeted the past five years mainly because of the country’s implementation of a log export tariff of 25% in 2008, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly (www.woodprices.com). Despite having suffered a sharp decline in global market share, Russia is still the largest exporter of softwood logs in the world.
Last year global demand for softwood lumber increased by 15 percent after having hit a 50-year low in 2009. The rise in demand has pushed lumber prices in North America, Asia and Europe to their highest levels in ten months, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Japan is in urgent need of pre-fabricated houses and manufactured wood products in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in early March. Longer term, it can be expected that imports of commodity products such as plywood, lumber and logs will increase to this country, which is already one of the largest importers of wood products in the world, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly
Sawlog prices in Western US were up about 20 percent in 2010 as an result of increased competition for logs from log buyers in China, South Korea and Japan, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. Prices for logs in the US South and Canada also moved up last year, but at a slower rate. Sawmills in Western Canada currently have some of the lowest wood costs in the world.
The world’s largest log exporter, Russia, increased the shipments of logs in the 1Q/11 after having declined for four years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Russian exports of softwood lumber have also gone up substantially, especially to China, Uzbekistan, Japan and Egypt.
Global trade of wood chips was up 25 percent in 2010 because of increased production of pulp and paper products worldwide. China showed the greatest growth in chip imports with an increase over 400 percent in the past two years, as reported in the Wood Resource Quarterly. Australia continues to be the major exporter and shipped 11 percent more in 2010 than in the previous year.
The value of softwood logs and lumber exported from North America to China reached over 1.6 billion dollars in 2010, which was 150 percent higher than the previous year and more than ten times as much as in 2006, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Sawlog costs in Europe have gone up more than lumber prices the past year, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. With the expected decline in lumber consumption, many sawmills in Europe are considering reductions in their operating rates. As a consequence, prices for sawlogs are likely to drop from their two–year highs in the coming months.
FOEX and WRI have agreed to partner in the launching of global wood chip price indices. The combined efforts will ensure that the indices, whose launch is planned for early 2011, will be statistically reliable and thus well suited for forest and energy companies who can use price indices for benchmarking, as well as the financial community, which can use the Indices as price risk management tools.