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May 8, 2020

Sharp drop in Chinese tropical log imports

Sharp drop in Chinese tropical log imports

Tropical log imports in the first two months of 2020 amounted 1.30 million cubic metres, down 26% year on year and accounted for 17% of the national total.

In the first two months of 2020, China imported tropical logs mainly from Papua New Guinea (39%), Solomon Islands (14%), Brazil (10%), Equatorial Guinea (8.4%), the Republic of Congo (5.8%), Mozambique (5.5%), Cameroon (4.7%), Suriname (2.9%), CAR (2.5%) and South Africa (2.3%). Just 10 countries supplied 95% of China’s tropical log requirements in the first two months of 2020.

Among top source countries for tropical hardwood log imports, imports from Surinam and the CAR jumped 138% and 136% to 38,000 cubic metres and 33,000 cubic metres respectively.

The volume of log imports from Brazil and South Africa also rose 31% and 15% to 132,000 cubic metres and 30,000 cubic metres respectively.

However, most of countries from which tropical log imports declined greatly included Equatorial Guinea (- 58%), Solomon (-54%), the Republic of Congo (-45%) and Cameroon (-42%).

Volume m3 (000s) Change in % yoy
Papau New Guinea 507 -7%
Solomon Is. 178 -54%
Brazil 132 +31%
Equatorial Guinea 109 -58%
Republic of Congo 75 -45%
Mozambique 71 -24%
Cameroon 61 -42%
Suriname 38 +138%
CAR 33 +146%
South Africa 30 +15%

Data source: China Customs

Value US$ Change in % yoy Average C&F price US$
Papau New Guinea 93,785,677 -7% 185
Solomon Is. 30,296,769 -58% 170
Brazil 14,297,620 +26% 109
Equatorial Guinea 29,532,100 -60% 271
Republic of Congo 25,822,847 -46% 343
Mozambique 37,582,308 -33% 528
Cameroon 16,199,542 -47% 266
Suriname 10,004,190 +137% 263
CAR 10,628,760 +126% 324
South Africa 2,965,797 +1% 100

Data source: China Customs

Before their log export bans Laos and Myanmar were a major source of tropical logs for China. However, China’s log imports from Laos in the first two months of 2020 fell to just 5,602 cubic metres valued at US$8.04 million, down 59% in volume and 50% in value. China’s log imports from Myanmar fell to just 434 cubic metres valued at US$0.58 million, down 82% both in volume and in value.

Sharp rise in tropical log imports through Qingdao Port

In the first two months of 2020, 74% of imported tropical logs arrived at three major ports, Zhangjiagang, Qingdao and Jingjiang ports. The volume of tropical logs handled at Qingdao Port rose over 400% year on year to 324,000 cubic metres valued at US$D74 million. However, tropical log imports through Zhangjiagang port and Jingjiagn port were 400,000 cubic metres and 255,000 cubic metres valued at US$97.46 million and US$67.43 million cubic metres respectively all down from a year earlier.

Average imported log prices US$/cu.m CIF

2020 Jan 2020 Feb
Okoume 323 293
Merswa 181 183
Teak 674 557
Merbau 432 390
Birch 125 128
Oak 312 313

Data source: China Customs. Customs value all grades, all sources

Average imported sawnwood prices US$/cu.m CIF

2020 Jan 2020 Feb
Sapelli 583 644
Merbau 852 853
Teak 800 782
Lauan 301 326
African Mahogany 464 401
Oak 481 507

Data source: China Customs. Customs value all grades, all sources

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