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JAPAN: RISE IN PLYWOOD MARKET PRICES
|JAPAN: RISE IN PLYWOOD MARKET PRICES
Distributors and retailers in the downstream have been much surprised at frequent price-raise announcements the upper-stream make several times per month. In the Japanese market for plywood, it usually takes one month to penetrate a new price a manufacturer (upper-stream) has decided into users as small builders and carpenters (downstream), and distributors have well absorbed the higher portion in each stage during the time lag. But this time things are unusual that one new price has not been spread in the market before another announcement is made to raise up. "Therefore, the higher prices will be inevitable for the downstream market in the future," says the largest wholesaler of plywood, which predicts concrete form will exceed a high mark of 1,000 yen per sheet after the summer. That is based on what the wholesaler estimates that by September the price from manufacturers will be 940 yen and that from wholesalers will be 960-970 yen. On the other hand, imported plywood is currently priced higher than the domestic products are, and there are few factors to prevent suppliers from raising the prices. It could be stronger in the Japanese market due to the conditions of raw materials, where even local mills can hardly secure the logs, not mention to the Japanese users, because of a remarkable shrinkage in logging and a sharp rise in prices. But a certain amount of products is being transacted slightly, and an extreme reduction in Japan's demand would not happen toward the early autumn. In the imported plywood that has become firmer prior to the home-manufactured products, such a non-JAS item as called long for under-layment has been fewer supplied. It should be cautious because the market might leave plywood if the price gets too high to accept, and might move to substitutive items as OSB and JAS structural softwood plywood. The Japanese regulations on plywood quality that started from the issues concerning volatile organic compound (VOC) have been stricter year after year, and it has finally been concerned in the distribution stages. Regarding this point, the wholesalers would welcome the recent decrease in imported plywood to Japan because it could be an opportunity to diminish non-JAS items in the Japanese distribution, since the reduction of the imports is occuring primarily in non-JAS plywood. For Japan Plywood Manufacturers' Association, which has requested the plywood producing countries not to export non-JAS products to Japan for years, it is a time to expect those supplying nations to increase JAS items so that plywood will win larger market and stronger support in Japan.
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