CENTRAL/ WEST AFRICA
Disconnect 每 global financial weakness but stable
demand for timber
Log and lumber prices are unchanged and this must be one
of the longest periods of stable prices over the past 12
months. Modest purchases of logs for China continue and
there is still ongoing business in sawnwood of selected,
high value speciality species for the high end market.
Current demand is however, far from the market recovery
that producers anticipated late last year but the level of
business is sufficient for producers to hold prices stable in
hope of improved sales volumes in the second half of the
There are no signs of an improvement in demand for the
Chinese market but neither has there been a sharp decline
in orders. Analysts point out that the reality is that while
financial markets are unstable the housing and
construction sectors in many countries continue to
While the housing market in China remains under pressure
homes continue to be built and this drives demand for
wood products. The sheer size of the housing market in
China and the importance of the construction sector for the
economy suggests the current steady demand will
Apart from China the Indian government has ambitious
plans for its housing sector which will create opportunities
for timber exports. For producers in West and Central
Africa the overall market situation has not deteriorated and
with firm demand in Europe prices are holding firm.
Accelerating tertiary processing in Gabon
Markets in the Middle East countries continue to be active
and very price conscious.
There is a steady demand for the lower grades of
sawnwood but good business for high quality panel
products and joinery quality and decorative species.
It has been learnt that proposals to accelerate tertiary level
processing, kiln drying and eventual manufacture of
components and furniture parts are being discussed in
Gabon. Also mentioned are ideas on stimulating greater
regional trade in wood products.
Such a major step forward in processing could be
underpinned by incentives such as tax relief on advanced
processing equipment and it would be necessary to raise
the level of training to create a more highly skilled
workforce. This will take time and but could be
implemented in cooperation with industry.
New container routes for West Africa
Beginning March this year NileDutch, the container
carrier specialised in connections to and from West Africa,
upgraded its services from Europe to West Africa.
A statement on its web site says the existing West Europe
每 West Africa Service, known as WEWA, has been
upgraded to weekly . A new service to Dakar and Abidjan
provides extra loading ports. This new Europe West Africa
service (EUWA) has the following port rotation:
Pointe Noire will serve as NileDutch＊s hub for shipments
to and from Douala, Libreville, Bata, Malabo, Boma,
Matadi, Cabinda and Soyo.
For the full story see:
In related news it has been reported that Italy-based
Grimaldi shipping company will rotate a container service
between the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.
Protecting West African rosewood
The Secretariat of the Convention on Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) officially has announced the listing of the
West African rosewood species Pterocarpus erinaceus in
Appendix III of the Convention, meaning that all
international trade in the species will be subject to
Centre aims to make Ghana preferred
destination in Africa
The Ghana＊s Mission to the United Nations recently
organized an investment forum as part of activities to mark
Ghana＊s 59th independence anniversary.
Ghana＊s Minister for Private Sector Development, Dr.
Abdul Rashid Pelpuo detailed the country＊s wealth of
natural resources including timber, supportive investment
laws and socio-economic stability as advantages for
Mrs. Mawuena Trebarh, Chief Executive Officer of the
Ghana Investment and Promotions Centre (GIPC) said
procedures for setting up businesses in Ghana were
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) recorded
appreciable levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
inflows in 2015 after 2 years of implementing the new
investment law, the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865).
Highlights of recorded investments have been published
by the GIPC and show that 170 projects had been
registered worth an estimated US$2.68 billion in 2015.
The potential for job creation from registered projects in
2015 was 14,948, an increase of 14% year on year.
GIPC says ※As part of our strategy for 2016, the GIPC
will focus on improving upon its operational efficiency,
provide higher level services and roll out the second phase
of our "Think Ghana Make it Happen" campaign with the
target of propelling Ghana to become the preferred
investment destination in Africa.§
For more see: http://www.gipcghana.com/
Manufacturing could find a sound footing says
In a related development, an analysis by the Association of
Ghana Industries (AGI) on manufacturing activities in the
country last year noted the decline in output.
The report said the AGI was confident the sector could get
onto a sound footing if the government addresses the high
rate of inflation, stabilises the exchange rate and creates
conditions for a lowering of interest rates. The basis for
sustained expansion of manufacturing rests, says the
association, on addressing the severe power shortages
currently being experienced.
Risk to regional trade as neighbours try to stablise
Ghana has placed a ban on imports of many items from
Nigeria, including oil, apparently in response to what is
considered the unreasonable move by Nigeria＊s ※Import
Prohibition list§ which is being used to limit the amount of
foreign exchange provided to Nigerian importers. Ghana is
Nigeria＊s regional largest trade partner importing a high
proportion of Nigerian oil output.
The moves by each country will weaken regional trade as
Ghana and Nigeria are said to account for about 70% of
the GDP in the ECOWAS countries.
For more see:
Prices for wood products remained unchanged as of 30
Furniture makers urged - explore
markets for solid
wood furniture in China
The Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities,
Douglas Uggah Embas, has urged furniture manufacturers
to work together and promote Malaysian furniture so that
the 2020 target of RM53 billion (approx. US$12.9 billion)
export earnings can be achieved.
Malaysia's timber and timber product exports rose by 6.3
per cent to RM21.7 billion (approx. US$ 5.3 billion) in
2015 from RM20.4 billion in 2014.
Chua Chu Chai, Chairman of Export Furniture Exhibition
2016 (EFE), recommended that Malaysian furniture
manufacturers should explore markets for solid wood
furniture in China as consumers there appreciate solid
wood furniture and China's consumption is expected to
grow by five to six per cent this year.
Chua was speaking as he promoted the EFE 2016, a fourday
exhibition themed 'Fine Furniture World Market'.
Expanding chip and particleboard production
As a sign of growing optimism, a major producer of
particleboard and particleboard based products,
HeveaBoard, announced plans to invest RM 20 million
(approx. US$ 4.9 million) to increase capacity.
HeveaBoard utilises rubberwood residues and has
subsidiaries producing downstream Ready-to-Assemble
furniture manufacturing and other panel products.
In 2015 Heveaboard exported about 80% of its
particleboard production mainly to China, Japan, South
Korea, India. Most RTA items are for Japan, Europe,
Australia and the United States.
2016 export quota for ramin and gaharu
The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) has
announced a 10,000 cu.m, 2016 export volume quota for
ramin (Gonystylus spp.) products.
The export quota for Karas/Gaharu (Aquilaria spp.)
products, including wood chips, wood blocks and essential
oils is 150,000 Kg for 2016.
Importing timber under TLAS
The MTIB has announced new import regulations for logs,
large square and scantlings as well as plywood. With
effect from 1 January 2016, applications for import
licenses for logs, large square and scantling and plywood,
shall include documentation on source to ensure only
legally harvested timber and products enter the country.
This regulation is to fulfil the requirements of Malaysia＊s
Timber Legality Assurance System.
Coming down heavy on illegal operators
Sarawak State Forestry Director, Sapuan Ahmad, is on
record as saying the department will hit hard those
companies found using illegally harvested logs once the
one year grace period since the endorsement of a new
forest ordinance ends in April 2016.
The Forests Ordinance 2015 includes provision for tough
penalties. For example, anyone operating an unregistered
sawmill could face a penalty of between RM500,000 and
RM10 million and/or imprisonment.
The state has introduced an enhanced tracking system
through which timber taken from licensed areas must be
certified and royalty stamped at one of the 48 ＆One-Stop
Compliance Centres＊ (OSCC) across the state.
It is understood that the police force, Marine Department,
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) will assist track and
seize illegal logs.
Number of accredited SVLK assessors
Currently there are 16 independent SFM assessors and 21
timber legality verification companies/bodies accredited
by the National Accreditation Committee (KAN). As the
numbers of accredited assessors grows so does the
credibility of the county＊s Timber Legality Assurance
Claims of circumvention of SVLK
Forest Watch Indonesia, an Independent Forestry
Monitoring Network and the Environmental Investigation
Agency have released a report entitled ＆Loopholes in
Legality＊ which claims unscrupulous traders have
exploiting the Ministry of Trade Decree allowing SMEs to
export without full SVLK verification. The Decree also
removes the requirement that companies register with
Indonesia's Forestry Industry Products Exporter Registry
The report ＆Loopholes in Legality＊ claims SME export
declarations are being used by companies that are not
members of the Indonesian Furniture and Craft
Association (Association of Indonesian Furniture and
Handicraft or AMKRI).
For more see:
Preparing for VPA negotiations
A Gap Assessment Workshop on Myanmar＊s Timber
Legality Assurance System was conducted by the
Myanmar Forest Certification Committee (MFCC) and the
EU-FAO-FLEGT Programme on 3 March 2016 in
The Secretary of the MFCC, Barber Cho, in addressing the
workshop said the assessment was helpful to the VPA
negotiation team since members would be better equipped
to understand the situation in terms of gaps between the
existing TLAS and compliance and between the existing
TLAS and VPA-TLAS.
MFCC conducted a further public consultation on SFM
and C&I for both natural and plantation forests) on 4th
March and managers from the Forestry Department and
Extraction Agency Managers from the Myanma Timber
Enterprise attended along with representatives from FSC
and PEFC. Expectations are high for a policy shift towards
forest conservation by the new NLD-led government.
Barter trade in Northwest to be halted by India
The border trade between India and Myanmar has been
affected by a decision by Indian authorities to restrict trade
facilitation to the formal banking system. Until the change
much of the cross border trade was made possible through
acceptance of an ＆informal＊ barter system.
Beginning early December 2015 all trade had to be settled
through the formal banking system or the Asian Clearing
Union, a regional cross-border payment network.
Analysts comment that it will take time for the new
regulations to be implemented as the formal banking
system in rural Myanmar is not well developed.
In related news, an additional four foreign banks have
been granted licenses in Myanmar bringing to 13 the
number of international banks in the country. The latest
additions are the Bank for Investment and Development of
Vietnam, State Bank of India, Sun Commercial Bank
(Taiwan P.o.C) and Shinhan Bank (South Korea).
First cities under ＆Smart City Programme＊
CREDAI has welcomed the selection of the cities for the
first round of development as ＆smart cities＊saying this
initiative provides a tremendous opportunity for the real
estate sector especially in the affordable home market.
Bhubaneswar, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bhopal
have been selected as the first batch for the ＆Smart City＊
programme. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC)
is also included for the first round of development.
Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visak hapatnam, Solapur,
Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi,
Udaipur, Guwahati and Ludhiana are the other cities
selected in the first batch. Realtors see business
opportunities in all ＆Smart City＊ projects.
The Centre for Science and Environment, quoting the
Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, said there
was a shortfall of at least 18.6 million homes in the
country and that most were required by those in the socalled
economically weaker section (EWS) and low
income groups (LIG) in Indian society.
Report on Plywood and laminates market
Daedal Research has produced a report on the Indian
plywood and laminates market covering 2015-2019.
In a press release Daedal says ※The report assesses the
market sizing and growth of the Indian plywood and
laminates Industry over the years with detailed analysis.
This report analyses this market segment and major end
users the report also discusses key factors driving growth
of the industry, major trends and challenges faced by
manufacturers of plywood and laminates.
Further, major producers such as Century Plywood,
Greenply Plywood, National Plywood and Kitply Plywood
are also analysed in the report. ※
The executive summary says ※Plywood is the most
demanded product of this industry followed by laminates.
MDF on the other hand is a small segment of the Indian
industry. The market could be segmented on the basis of
distribution channels where the unorganised market
accounts for the major share.
However with changing consumer preferences the market
has seen a shift towards the organised segment due to
increased demand for good quality and branded products.
The share of organised players in the industry is expected
to rise further in the years to come. This shift is taking
place primarily due to urbanisation and more disposable
For more see:
Canadian team promotes BC timbers
A 22 member Canadian delegation including
representatives form major companies such as Canfor and
West Fraser as well as industry association representatives
recently visited Bengaluru and Mysore with a view to
expanding the India-Canada timber trade.
Indian importers and specifiers were introduced to
certified timber products available from British Columbia
such as sawn hemlock, douglas-fir, western red cedar and
yellow-cedar. The delegation aimed to promote the use of
Canadian timbers for the manufacture of doors and
windows, furniture and paneling.
India Wood 2016 deemed a success
This year India Wood was held in Bangaluru (previously
known as Bangalore) 26 to 29 February and a wide range
of raw materials, finished products and