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Japan Tropical Logs Arrivals Increase 
2002.12.27


Report From Japan

Tropical Log Arrivals Increase

Average monthly log arrivals during January to September were about 150,000 cubic metres but since September they have grown to over 200,000 cubic metres. Log inventories in July and August were low and plywood mills reacted by purchasing more but with increasing supplies buy has fallen back.

The log prices in Japan are no longer climbing as FOB prices in the producer countries have steadied. Sarawak Meranti regular prices are unchanged atyen 6,300-6,400 per koku CIF. Meranti small is at about yen 5,900 while super small are about yen 5,600, both remaining flat from last month. Kapur is reportedly in tight supply and Kapur regular prices are firm at yen 6,500-6,600.

PNG Taun and Calophyllum prices are also flat at yen 5,400 despite more inquiries being noted from manufacturers of medium thickness plywood.

The importers continued to be bullish while the yen got stronger at close to 120 to the dollar in November but now the yen has weakened to close to 125 again and it looks as if it may weaken further. Importers hoped to add another yen 50-100 per koku to raise prices for large logs for plywood mills but the mills are cautious and may demand a lowering of log prices as the plywood market seems to have weaken. This is because of the high level of imports of plywood from Indonesia and Malaysia. The easing of log inventories is also taking the steam out of price increases.

Ocean freight Increases

Shipping companies which operate tropical log carriers have started asking higher freight. They are reportedly asking for US$1.0-1.5 per cubic metre more for shipments from Sabah and Sarawak and US$2.50-3.0 more on PNG and Solomon Island loadings.

Worldwide oil prices have gone up and this has pushed up the price of bunker fuel by at least US$1.00 per cubic metres for Malaysian shipments according to Japanese analysts. Compared to the early this year, bunker fuel cost in Japan is up by US$60 per ton and shipping companies need to make up on the increase to guarantee regular sailings.

October Housing Starts

Housing starts in October were 103,567 units, 1.8% more than the same month last year and this is the first increase year on year for four months. Also, the October figure improved on three straight months of less than 100,000 units.

Tropical Log and Lumber Prices

Logs For Plywood Manufacturing
CIF Price Yen per Koku
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
Medium Mixed 6,300
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
STD Mixed 6,400
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
Small Lot
(SM60%, SSM40%) 5,600
Taun, Calophyllum (PNG)
and others 5,400
Mix Light Hardwood
(PNG G3-G5 grade) 4,700
Okoume (Gabon) 6,800
Keruing (Sarawak)
Medium MQ & up 7,000
Kapur (Sarawak) Medium
MQ & up 6,600


Logs For Sawmilling FOB Price Yen per Koku
Melapi (Sarawak)
Select 8,800
Agathis (Sarawak)
Select 8,600


Lumber FOB Price Yen per Cu.m
White Seraya (Sabah)
24x150mm, 4m 1st grade 113,000
Mixed Seraya 24x48mm,
1.8 - 4m, S2S 42,000


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