The value of Sarawak’s 2015 timber exports fell 9% to RM6.6 billion compared to RM7.2 billion in 2014. Export earnings for the first two months of 2016 are also trending lower.
The State Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, reported that only sawnwood exports have held up with all other products posting losses. To-date products that contributed most to 2016 export earnings were plywood (48%), logs (27%) and sawn timber (12%).
In the first two months of the year Japan continues to be the major market accounting for 36 % (RM373 million) of total wood product exports. Other markets included India (21%), Taiwan P.o.C (9%), Middle East countries (9%), Korea (8%), the Philippines (6%), Vietnam (3%) and Thailand (2%).
Efforts to combat illegal logging in Sarawak have been intensified. The Chief Minister, quoting official statistics for the period 2009 – 2014, said that the volume of illegal logs seized was less than 1% of total log production and that none of the main logging companies had been found to be logging illegally.
Regional markets to be foundation of 2016 exports
In related news, the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) is optimistic of maintaining the momentum in wood product exports this year despite global challenges.
MTC Chief Executive, Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik, revealed that Malaysia’s 2015 exports of sawnwood, plywood, veneer and furniture increased 6.5% year on year to around US$5.5 billion.
Furniture exports alone increased 14% last year and overall, the timber sector provided just over 18% to total exports earnings in the commodity sector. Rahim said the outlook for the industry was quite positive, especially in terms of the opportunities for sales within the region. India is a market with huge potential as is the furniture market in China.
To capture the opportunities in these markets Rahim said “Continued growth and progress are largely dependent upon industry’s ability to shift from the current manufacturing-based mind-set to one that is more innovation centric, providing more value-added products to international markets”.
Sarawak plywood prices
Plywood Traders in Sarawak reported the following export prices:
- Floor base FB (11.5mm) US$580/cu.m FOB
- Concrete formboard panels CP (3’ x 6’) US$500/cu.m FOB
- Coated formboard panels UCP (3’ x 6’) US$580/cu.m FOB
- S Korea (9mm and up) US$390/cu.m FOB
- Taiwan P.o.C (9mm and up) US$400/cu.m FOB Hong Kong US$400 FOB/cu.m
- Middle East US$380/cu.m FOB
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