Ghana Exim Bank to be established soon
The planned Ghana Exim Bank will soon be established
according to a Minster of Employment and Labour
Relations, Haruna Iddrisu. This was made known at the
AGM of the Ghana Employers‟ Association (GEA).
The Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, in his 2015 Budget
Statement in November 2014, announced the setting up of
this bank to help stimulate local businesses, attract
investment and boost exports.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) president
James Asare-Adjei, welcomed this move saying the AGI
has consistently urged the government to encourage local
manufacturers as the performance of most timber
manufacturers has suffered from low investment due to
lack of financing and because of the high interest rates
from domestic banks. These issues, along with power
supply problems, have crippled domestic manufacturers.
The timber industry hopes the new bank will be
and will offer competitive credit facilities for the
manufacturing sector as this will boost export capacity.
Ghana joins Xiamen investment fair
Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and
Industry, attended the 19th China International Fair for
Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen, China, along
with a delegation of businessmen including representatives
of timber companies.
The Minister said the key to Ghana‟s growth is the active
pursuit of an export-led economy as until the country is
able to generate foreign exchange through the sale of its
natural and value added products, it would not be able to
balance its budget.
Consumer inflation moves in the right direction
According to Ghana‟s Statistical Service, the country‟s
annual consumer price inflation (CPI) fell to 17.3% in
August from 17.9% the previous month. The decline in the
CPI was the result of a fall in non-food inflation and this
was helped by the slight strengthening of the cedi.
Diversifying the bio-mass sector
Sabah will focus efforts on boosting the biomass industry
by continuing development work with the palm oil
industrial cluster and through diversifying the sector
according to Deputy Chief Minister, Raymond Tan Shu
Kiah. Tan said ¡°the potential for generating investments in
this sector is huge and this is a great potential for our
It has been estimated that the biomass sector in Sabah
could contribute around RM 30 billion (approx. US$7
billion) to State revenue by 2020.
Reduced forest output inevitable in Sabah
At the recent „Best of Both Worlds‟ Conference at the
Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok, the Director of
Forests said the State Government has accepted that future
revenues from forestry would fall as extensive sustainable
forest management is practiced extensively. Revenue from
forestry in 2014 was just 3% of what it was in 1979.
The Sabah Forestry Department began implementing SFM
in 1989 and has now doubled its Totally Protected Areas
(TPA) from 800,000 hectares to 1.55 million hectares or
about 21% of the area of the State.
To-date the State Government has set aside 3.9 million
hectares of the total area of the state as protected or
Promoting sustainability in the domestic market
Industries and consumers at large are increasingly aware
of their role in opting for sustainable product alternatives
in support of Malaysia‟s green economy. To capitalize on
this the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC)
plans a two-pronged strategy which includes expanding
domestic and international demand for certified wood
In a press release MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon, said
¡°Due to the export-oriented nature of the Malaysian timber
industry, MTCS is also a market driven scheme. We
believe it is equally important to nurture domestic market
demand for sustainable timber.¡±
Since its implementation in 2001, a total of 4.66 million ha
of forest areas and 349 timber companies have been
certified under the MTCS. The scheme ensures that timber
products manufactured and sold by the certified companies
are sourced from MTCS-certified forests.
Malaysia‟s timber industry is a major contributor to export
earnings, accounting for 17.5 per cent of the total export
earnings by the commodity sector in 2014. Last year
exports of timber and timber products were the third most
important commodity after palm oil and rubber.
As at 1 April 2015, Malaysia exported over 1 million
cubic metres of certified tropical timber to 47 international
To further promote sales MTCC participated in the
International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and
Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2015). IGEM 2015 was the
6th in a series with the aim of positioning Malaysia as a
Green Technology Hub for ASEAN Region.
Promotion mission to China
Malaysia‟s Plantation Industries and Commodities
Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, will head a
delegation to China in the middle of September in an
effort to boost sales of timber and oil palm products.
This comes as the Malaysia economy has been affected by
a currency crisis and political turmoil. The delegation will
include representatives from the Malaysian Timber
Council (MTC) and the private sector.
The group will visit Furniture China 2015 in Shanghai,
one of the largest furniture exhibitions where many
Malaysian manufacturers are exhibiting. China is a major
export market for Malaysian wood products. Malaysia's
wood product exports to China in 2014 were valued at
Renewed commitment to legality verification
The Sarawak Forest Department, Sarawak Forestry
Corporation, Sarawak Timber Industry Development
Corporation and the private company Harwood Timber
Sdn Bhd renewed their commitment to Sarawak‟s Timber
Legality Verification system by signing the Inter-Agency
Standard Operating Procedure for Performance of Forestry
This would enable efficient tracking of log movement
along the supply chain to protect the image and reputation
of Sarawak timber in the international market.
Sarawak export plywood prices
Plywood traders reported no changes in export prices
except for Concrete Panels. The current CP price is
US$550 and UCP US$630.
Stronger dollar - furniture exports jump
As the US dollar rose above the IDR 14,000 mark
furniture exporters cheered. The latest export figures from
the Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft and Rattan
Association (AMKRI) show a 20% surge in demand for
Indonesian furniture and handicrafts in international
Rapid identification to eliminate protected timber
The head of Indonesia‟s Forest Products Research and
Development Centre, Dwi Sudharto, said because global
markets demand precise information on timber species
used in various wood products, rapid and accurate wood
identification tools are invaluable.
Wood products exported from Indonesia are accompanied
by information on species used and auditors for timber
legality certification are the first line of defense against
illegal timber export.
To strengthen the capacity for quick and accurate
identification wood types the Bogor Forest Products
Research and Development Centre has an extensive
xylarium (a collection of well-curated authenticated wood
specimens) extending to over 34,000 specimens of timber
species. This collection is said to be the third largest in the
Legality verification boosting exports to EU
Data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of
Environment and Forestry show that Indonesian wood
product exports in the first half of 2015 to the EU were
worth US$609 million. Exports to Asian countries rose
sharply and exports to Oceania totalled US687 million
followed by US$202 million to countries in Africa.
IWPA members get green light to continue
The US Treasury Department has extended the license
authorising members of the International Wood Products
Association to engage in activities necessary and
incidental to purchase and importation of wood and wood
products from or involving the Myanma Timber Enterprise
(MTE) and/or its affiliates and subsidiaries, up to 31 July
The MTE was given to understand that this license applies
specifically to IWPA members and is not open to non-
IWPA members. Interested parties may contact the IWPA
at http://www.iwpawood.org/ for details.
New minimum daily wage resisted by manufacturers
The decision by the government in Myanmar to raise the
minimum wage well above levels proposed by
manufacturers has resulted in many companies especially
Korean and Chinese business threatening to close their
operations and relocate.
The authorities have asked for talks to be opened and the
Myanmar Trade Unions Federation is demanding that if
workers are laid off they should be given legally required
compensation. The new minimum wage of K3600/ day
became effective 1 September.
The following timber was sold by MTE by tender on 28
and 31 August 2015.
Teak conversion prices
Conversions sold by MTE during the August open tender
attracted the following prices per cubic ton:
Third Quality- US$868-418
Furniture manufacturing sector posts
According to the Central Statistics Office the furniture
manufacturing sector reported a 34% growth in output in
the early part of the year compared to the same period last
India‟s wood-based furniture retail market is ranked the
14th largest in the world at an estimated at US$15 billion
and is set to expand further.
The Mumbai Wood trade show will open at the Bombay
Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in Goregaon
East, Mumbai, on 1 October. This is touted as Western
India‟s premier show for furniture producers and
machinery suppliers. It is also becoming an effective
business-to-business platform for the industry.
At this show India‟s leading furniture e-retailers, among
them EBay, Fabfurnish, Flipkart, Furlenco, Homelane,
Pepperfry, Snapdeal, Stitchwood and Urbanladder, will
have an opportunity to interact with furniture makers.
For more see:
Turning to automation in face of shortage of skilled
Attendance data from LIGNA 2015 show a jump in Indian
visitors and attendance from Asia was up for the latest
The increase in the number of Indian company
representatives visiting Ligna is seen by local analysts as
an indication of efforts being made by the domestic
industry to seek out technological innovations. Skilled
furniture makers are now in short supply in India and it is
this that is driving interest in automation.
Of particular interest to Indian visitors was technology for
production of doors, windows and furniture of solid wood
and pre-laminated wood panels such as wood composite
Analysts expect a similar focus during the INDIAWOOD
fair to be held at Bangaluru (Bangalore) from 25-29
Task force seizes thousands of tonnes of illegally
harvested red sanders
More than 13,000 metric tonnes red sanders wood have
been seized in Andhra Pradesh as efforts to curb illegal
cutting and transportation of red sanders in the state begin
to bite. The State has deployed 12 armed mobile teams and
there are 19 observation posts with CCTVs cameras.
A special task force has been established to fight red
sanders smuggling and an amendment to the Andhra
Pradesh Forest Act, 1967 has been proposed. Red sander
grows mainly in the Chittoor and Kadapa districts of
Teak log sizes fall pulling down prices
Overall demand for wood products is reported as subdued
and the flow of imports has slowed. In recent teak log
shipments many parcels comprise small girth logs and this
has driven down prices. The supply of large girth logs has
fallen in recent months.
No change in hardwood prices
Overall supplies of hardwood logs and domestic demand
remain in balance.
The dollar/rupee exchange rate fluctuations would
normally have resulted in changes in pricing for imported
timbers but, so far, millers are absorbing the difference
exchange losses as the market is tight.
Millers of Myanmar teak unable to lift prices
Domestic mills still have Myanmar teak log stocks but
there is strong market resistance to price increases for
Myanmar teak sawnwood as alternative species are
capturing market share.
Plywood producers having to absorb exchange rate
In the plywood market the swings in exchange rates are
now an issue. Producers would like to raise prices to offset
currency losses but the market is resisting these
Local analysts had expected to see plywood prices rise but
as of mid-September they remain unchanged from a month
SUDEMA certifies timber to stamp out
The State government of Para¨ªba (Northeast region of
Brazil) has introduced timber legality certification in the
state. This initiative is part of the States forest
management strategy aimed at eliminating illegal logging
and uncontrolled harvesting of forest resources.
The State forest certification guarantees that marketed
timber comes from a legal and well managed production
area. The process requires each producer to submit a forest
management plan for assessment and approval after which
SUDEMA issues the harvesting permit.
As a follow-up SUDEMA conducts regular assessments of
operations and if necessary directs adjustments to maintain
the certification process.
High level assessment of difficulties faced by forestry
The first meeting of the Chamber of Silviculture of the
National Congress was held on 9 September to discuss
difficulties in the forestry sector such as burdensome
bureaucracy. The meeting also addressed the need for
development of initiatives that promote forest plantations
in the country.
It has been identified that restrictions on the
land by foreign entities is one of the main reasons why
investment in plantations has not progressed as planned.
In Mato Grosso do Sul the state failed to capture
significant investments because of this obstacle. Some
international forestry companies pulled out of negotiations
for investment in the State because of the land ownership
The Chamber of Silviculture is set to address removing
bureaucratic obstacles to land acquisition and
environmental licensing procedures through re-alignment
of state legislation.The Chamber also indicated it would
broaden its discussion to encompass biomass production
for power generation.
Forestry sector exports beat the trend
According to the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX), the
exports and hard currency eanrings by the forest sector
continues to increase. Between January and July this year
forestry sector exports grew 3.2% year on year in value
(US$ 5.9 billion).
While the overall agribusiness trade balance weakened
especially for grains and meat products forestry sector
export growth remained stable.
To compensate for rapidly declining domestic demand and
helped by the depreciation of the real, exports have grown
and confidence that international demand will continue to
improve has led to investments by timber producers.
Promising furniture export opportunities
Furniture exporters in Santa Catarina State in southern
Brazil ship more furniture than from any other state and in
the first half of this year the value of furniture exports
topped US$ 102 million or 34% of national furniture
exports. The first half figure for exports is up 6.7% on the
same period of 2014.
Other major furniture exporting states are Rio Grande do
Sul, (US$ 91.4 million or 30.5% of the national total).
However, overall first half furniture exports were down
7% compared to the same period in 2014.
Despite the decline the Institute of Marketing and
Industrial Studies (IEMI) forecasts that exporters in Rio
Grande do Sul will see an almost 9% increase in furniture
exports for 2015.
The Furniture Industry Association of Rio Grande do Sul
(MOVERGS) says that first half 2015 exports were
atypical. Despite the falling exchange rate, MOVERGS
says the furniture industry is not competitive compared to
international, especially Chinese, producers as domestic
production costs continue to rise. In addition, high
transport and port costs and changing domestic policies
add to overall export costs.
Exchange of experiences with US Forest
The United States Forest Service, with the support of the
US Agency for International Development, sponsored an
internship on Information Management and Strengthening
Institutions in the forestry sector for forestry personnel
Participants were exposed to recent approaches to
managing forest operations, organisational procedures,
new technologies to aid management and the role of
information transparency in promoting good forestry.
Participants were drawn from Peru‟s Ministry of
Environment (MINAM), the regional government of
Ucayali, the National Forest and Wildlife Service
(SERFOR) and the Agency for Supervision of Forest
Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR).
Cooperation between Peru and Colombia is
strengthened in forestry
In order to strengthen the border integration between Peru
and Colombia, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
(PCM) in Peru organised a second national workshop
focusing on joint forest and wildlife issues in the border
area between the two countries.
During the event in Loreto various issues were addressed
especially those within the mandate of the Ministry of
Environment (MINAM) such as the Ecological Economic
Zoning (EEZ) which is a cross agency issue involving the
Land Management division of MINAM and the National
Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR).
Operations to stamp out illegal logging
Multi-sectoral operations aimed at eliminating illegal
harvesting of forest will be strengthened according to
Peru‟s Commissioner for combating illegal logging. The
head of the Council of Ministers, C¨¦sar Fourment, made
this clear when meeting loggers in Ucayali.
To achieve zero illegal harvesting the administration and
technical capacity of the nine regional governments
(Amazonas, Ayacucho, La Libertad, Loreto, Madre de
Dios, Huanuco, San Martin, Tumbes and Ucayali) will be
Members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Forestry
Development in the Ucayali Region and a representative
of the Governor of Ucayali agreed to work in concert to
solve the problem of illegal logging having identified that
corruption is one of the main obstacles to improved
supervision and control.
New marketing initiative by FPDMC
The Forest Products Development and Marketing Council
(FPDMC) is currently working with communities and
regional groups to help them find markets for their
products. This is to support expansion of added value
The aim of the Council is to assist timber SMEs and
through this create a viable timber sector which, in turn,
will raise incomes.
The FPDMC has established a marketing tool available on
the FPDMC website to assist local producers identify
potential markets both locally and internationally. The
FPDMC is working with local communities to steer
budding entrepreneurs to new value added product lines as
well as helping establish markets for existing products.
Currently there is a housing boom in Guyana and timber
companies can benefit from expanded domestic
There were exports of greenheart, purpleheart and mora
logs in the period reviewed.