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International Log & Sawnwood Prices

16 – 30th April



  Regional update


The Prime Minister recently announced a 5 day extension
of the Government’s virus control regulations measures.
At the same time he said support is being planned for the
most affected sectors as well as the most fragile
households. The government is aiming to re-open schools
on 1 June.

Ivory Coast
Abidjan is under strict quarantine and cut off from the rest
of the country. The government has not yet ordered a full
nation-wide lockdown hoping the sealing of Abidjan will
stop the spread of the virus. President Alassane Ouattara
declared a state of emergency on 23 March which has
been extended. The government has in place an almost
US$3 billion support package to address the impact of the
pandemic on the economy.


Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo the state of
emergency has been extended for 15 days. The country
announced its first corona virus case on 10 March and
infections have now spread to at least four provinces.

Borders remain closed to non-essential traffic and the ban
on travel between the capital and the country's 25
provinces is also banned. Kinshasa, with over 11 million
residents, is the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.

Pandemic updates on Central and West Africa can be found on
the ATIBT website:

Forestry Minister issues instructions to operators
The Minister of Forests in Gabon has issued a letter with
wide ranging advice and guidance for timber companies
whom, he said, should prepare plans for eliminating the
risk of the corona virus infecting employees.

The letter explains that the Ministry has put in place
measures to ensure the operation of companies. It also
explains that ministry and forestry staff will remain at
work to assist companies, that the ministry will facilitate
transport authorisations and the smooth operation of the
ports. In addition, the ministry will provide travel
restriction waivers for essential company operatives and

Other aspects included in the letter from the Minister
cover very detailed instructions on how forest based and
processing mills should be managed during the crisis and
deals with worker movement and sanitation measures to
prevent the spread of the virus.

On preparation for shipments the letter from the Minister
says systems for safe container stuffing have been put in
place in Owendo Port and the site will be under SNBG

The Minister also explained that discussions are underway
on how best to financially support the timber sector. To
support company cash flow. SNBG has been authorised to
purchase and pay immediately for timber from operators
including kevazingo harvested before 2018.

Companies with other stocks are free to export as usual or
they can sell to SNBG. The government is urging
companies not to lay-off workers but, if this is
unavoidable, they must consult with the Ministry of

Survey - Impact of pandemic on Gabon’s timber sector

1. Are logging operations still working?

2. Are mills/factories still working?

3. Have forest sector workers been laid off?

4. Are laid off workers receiving payment either from
companies or government?


5. Are companies already receiving government


6. If so, what type of support?

7. Compared to the 1st quarter last year, how are


8. Are companies still fulfilling orders placed precrisis?

9. Have orders been cancelled?

10. Are domestic transportation systems for timber


11. Are the ports open for:

12. Are containers readily available?

13. What will be the main challenges in ramping up


14. Please estimate how long it would take to ramp up
production to pre-crisis levels?


15. What is your estimate of national lost sales % in Q1
2020 compared to Q1 2019?





 Lockdown lifted - businesses re-open
On 20 April the government announced the lifting of the
3-week lockdown implemented in areas which had seen
virus infection clusters however, the ban on social
gathering and the social distancing requirements remain.
The wearing of face masks in public is now mandatory
across the country. This decision, according to the
President, was based on advice from experts after
extensive testing for the virus.

The mandatory use of masks has enabled businesses in the
manufacturing and wood processing industries to work
smoothly without any interruptions and staffing issues.

Businesses welcomed the decision and have re-started
operations. Some companies have reported they have
received financial support from government allowing them
to increase production of personal protective items for
domestics use and to offer to neighbouring countries.

The Ghana Union of Traders Associations, the Industrial
and Commercial Workers Union, the Institute of Chartered
Economics of Ghana and the Trades Union Congress
among others, have said the easing of restrictions is a
positive move which would allow the country to begin the
recovery process.

World Bank loan relief for Ghana
The G-20 nations agreed to suspend bilateral debt service
payments until the end of the year for 76 low-income
countries eligible for the World Bank’s most concessional
lending via the International Development Association.

The list of eligible countries includes 40 sub-Saharan
African countries including Ghana’s US$500 mil. debt and
interest payments.

This was announced by the President who said this will
allow the country to adopt flexible and responsive
financing of the recovery.

In related news, the IMF announced six months of debt
service relief for 25 low-income countries which could be
extended up to two years. In addition to this move, the
IMF also approved additional funding support for several
African countries, including Chad, Ghana and Senegal.


Port operations
Captain Emmanuel Ankamah, Deputy Director, Ship
Inspections and Marine Security at the Ghana Maritime
Authority has reported that there has been no disruption to
ocean cargo traffic in Ghana allaying fears of food
shortages. He said the statistics show that despite
lockdowns across the world vessels have continued to
dock in Ghana.


 Warning of extreme recession if MCO extended
The Movement Control Order (MCO), first announced 18
March was extended for the third time until 28 April
across Malaysia. The MCO is a legal mechanism that
requires everyone to be off the streets from 7 pm until 7
am thereafter people can go out only for essentials. Social
distancing is required at all times. Where possible people
are asked to work from home while, for specified
enterprises, ‘limited operations’ are possible.

This extension marks the fourth phase to the MCO since
March. Malaysia’s pandemic curve has shown
encouraging signs of decline with new daily cases
consistently coming in below 100 since mid-April.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER)
cautioned policymakers on the huge cost that the MCO has
had on the economy, warning of an extreme recession
should restrictions be extended. Hong Leong Investment
Bank has downgraded its forecast for 2020 GDP to -6%.

The governments wage support programme has disbursed
around RM1.2 bil. to around a million workers in one
month. This programme will run for 3 months.

Impact of pandemic on employment and incomes
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) conducted
an online survey to assess the impact of the pandemic on
employment and income. For the forestry and logging
sector the survey results showed 6% of workers were on
half pay leave, 18% were on unpaid leave and 12% had
lost their job.

The report can be found at:

In related news, an April survey conducted by the
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) on the
impact of the MCO on employment showed that incomes
had dropped by more than 50%. Some of the larger
employers reported that they would be unable to sustain
operations beyond three months.

In Sarawak, under the MCO, logging is allowed with
manpower reduced to half. Downstream mills are allowed
to operate with special permission, also with half the usual
manpower in each mill. Reports suggest that around 140
wood processing companies have permission to operate.
It is understood that all activities in the timber industry has
been halted in Sabah, while in Peninsular Malaysia only
mills with special permission from Malaysian Timber
Industry Board are allowed to operate.

Sarawak exports down in Q1 2020
According to Sarawak Timber Industry Development
Corporation (STIDC) General Manager, Hashim Bojet,
there was an 11% decline in Sarawak timber exports in the
first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.


Sarawak earned RM1.1 billion from its timber exports in
the first quarter 2020 compared to RM1.3 billion in the
same period last year. He said exports were affected first
by the global slow-down early this year and then by the
impact of the pandemic. He commented that international
demand has been steadily shifting to finished products
rather than raw materials which also impacted Sarawak
timber exports.

Plywood was the main export wood product and in the
first quarter earned RM645 million – a decline of about
9.5% year on year. Log exports were the second highest
earner at RM143 million followed by sawnwood (RM128
million), fibreboard (RM73 million) and wood chips
(RM61 million).


  SMEs promised help to rebuild overseas markets
The Director General of Small and Medium Industries in
the Ministry of Industry, Gati Wibawaningsih, has said her
ministry will do all it can to help SMEs in the furniture
and handicraft sector to maintain their overseas markets in
the face of the decline in demand due to the pandemic.

She said the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC)
has been asked to notify international buyers that
Indonesian companies are still operating and that it would
be appreciated if they did not cancel orders. Gati reported
that the information so far indicates that about 3-5% of
orders had been cancelled while other buyers had asked
for delayed shipment on around 70% of orders placed.

Analysts write that one obstacle for exporters is the
cessation of port operations in the receiving countries as
this has disrupted trade and company cash flow putting
local companies at risk. Gati added, the pandemic has
impacted the availability and price of raw materials for
furniture and craft makers. She urged all companies to
rigorously follow health protocols by implementing social
distancing and to cut production and limit the number of
employees working at any one time.


In related news, the Chairman of the Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (Kadin) in Jepara Central Java,
Andang Wahyu Triyanto, said positive feedback had been
received from buyers in Italy, France and Spain who
confirmed they will continue to place orders for later

Also, said Andang, South Korea has also slowly reopened
furniture export trade channels with manufacturers in
Jepara. He explained that furniture shipped from Jepara in
late April should land in those countries in May when,
hopefully, port operations will be fully functional again.

Forestry ministry adjusts budget to create support

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry plans to adjust
its budget so as to have resources to assist dealing with the
impact of the pandemic on the forestry sector.

The Minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, said the revised budget
would focus on tackling the disruptive impact of the
pandemic so as to ensure the sustainability of the forest,
the survival of forestry enterprises and forest conservation
activities. She suggested that labour intensive projects
could be launched to put money into the rural economy.

The pandemic has started to affect the livelihoods of forest
farmers and the Indonesian rattan industry. Chairman of
the Indonesian Rattan Foundation, Lisman Sumardjani,
said even before the pandemic the small forest owners and
rattan growers were suffering because of the frequent
changes in policies and lack of incentives for the sector.
Now, with this pandemic things have become serious as
over the past three months since the virus outbreak
importer in China, Europe and America, the conventional
markets for processed and semi-finished rattan, have
reduced orders.

According to Lisman, around 12,000 rattan farmers,
collectors and operators of transport in 8 provinces outside
Java have lost their livelihood. He mentioned since the
policy of banning raw rattan exports based on the
Regulation of the Minister of Trade 35 / M-DAG / PER /
11/2011 which was strengthened by Regulation Number
44 / M-DAG / PER / 7/2012, this sector became dormant.



1.6 Million lay-offs in Indonesia
In mid-April the head of the corona virus counter-measure
acceleration team, Doni Monardo, announced that the
pandemic had hit the Indonesia economy hard and that
hundreds of thousands of workers had already been laid
off. He estimated that at least 1.6 million workers across
all sectors had been affected.

Because of this the President had ordered an acceleration
of the coronavirus social safety net to start with in Greater

The “safety net” will deliver staple food aid to residents
and efforts will be made to protect migrant workers in
Malaysia as it was uncertain if the Malaysian support
effort would include migrant workers.



 Infection control measures extended to 15 May
Myanmar extend the period of preventive measures to 15
May from 30 April, meaning all the directives and rules
issued by the National-Level Central Committee on
Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 will
remain effective until May 15. This move is intended to
counter any possible second wave of infections. As of 29
April Myanmar has 150 confirmed cases of infection.

Factories can resume after inspection of in-company
virus control measures

After shutting down for the Thingyan Water Festival
holiday 12-19 April, factories across the country,
including timber industries, have been instructed to
suspend operations for an additional 10 days and to
introduce virus preventive measures for workers in line
with the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Sports
(MOHS). A spokesperson in the Ministry of Labour
announced that inspections of company plans will be
completed by 30 April to ensure factories can resume

Central Bank relief measures
To address the negative impact of the pandemic the
Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced two relief
measures, an interest rate reduction and extension of loan
repayment schedules. Interest rates have been lowered
from 8.5% to 7.0% and loan periods extended up to
August 2023. The original deadline for loan repayments
for many companies was August this year.

The CBM said the deadline has been extended to support
the banks as the industry takes steps to respond to an
economic slowdown brought on by the global pandemic.


No non-essential commercial flights
Myanmar has extended its suspension of visas and
commercial flights until 15 May to curb the spread of
COVID-19 in the country. The Department of Civil
Aviation (DCA) said all airlines flying to Myanmar had
been informed of the extension. However, relief, cargo,
medical evacuation and special flights approved by the
DCA would not be affected.


Myanma Timber Enterprise extends payment deadline
for log buyers

According to manufacturers who recently purchased teak
logs the MTE has extended the payment schedule to 30
May to lessen the financial impact of the pandemic control
measures on businesses. Normally successful bidders at
the tender sales have to pay for the logs within 75 days if
not the deposit lodged with MTE will be seized and the
company black listed.

Fiscal 2017-18 log harvest less than allowable cut
The EITI office in Myanmar has issued the third and 4th
Edition of its Myanmar EITI Forestry Report. The first
and second reports were issued last year. According to 4th
edition which covers the 2017-18 financial year, 9,454
teak trees (about 15,000 Hoppus tons) were extracted,
equivalent to 49% of Annual Allowable Cut (AAC).

For other hardwoods, 48,181 trees (about 32,000 HT) were
extracted, just 25% of the AAC. EITI also reported the
revenue earned by the Mynama Timber Enterprise at
US$223 million of which about 60% was in US dollars
from tender sales.

The private sector is allowed to export products
manufactured from logs purchased from MTE in US
dollars. According to the statistic from the Ministry of
Commerce, timber exports earned US$210 million in
fiscal 2017-18.


 40 day Lockdown
After 30 days of the 40 day lockdown the corona virus
infections the two western states of Maharashtra and
Gujarat account for more than half of the nationwide
infections and almost 80% of the fatalities.

Manufacturing at 4-month low
While the manufacturing sector was largely unaffected by
the impact of the global pandemic up to March there has
since been a sharp decline in output as international as
well as domestic demand evaporated. Exports in March
contracted by 35% from a year ago, the sharpest decline in
at least two decades. All woodworking industries have
stopped operations and most of the workers been laid off
and have returned to their home States.

House prices set to sink
With economic activity at a standstill as a result of the 40-
day lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced measures to boost
liquidity and expand credit in order to help banks, housing
finance companies and non-banking finance companies.

The National Real Estate Development Council has
estimated house prices could decline by around 10-15%
this year and that the drop may be even greater. For those
with job security or savings this will present a buying
opportunity, said Deepak Parekh, Chairman of the
Housing Development Finance Corporation.

Parekh commented that the real estate market was
depressed and it is an unfortunate irony that the pandemic
arrived just at the time the government‘s for affordable
housing scheme was beginning to have a positive impact.

Changes in the housing market will have a major impact
on wood product manufacturers and Parekh commented
that the wood working industry should be prepared for a
‘new normal’ after the crisis.

He anticipates delayed projects and labour shortages
because most workers returned to their home states. In
such a scenario the temptation will be to increase wood
product imports but there is a general feeling in the
country that a too high dependence on imports is not good.

Writers for have published online an
analysis of how India’s real estate sector will look in a
post-Coronavirus world.


This report, in contrast to the views of the National Real
Estate Development Council, suggests building and
development may become costlier for builders, amid likely
delays in supplies and government approvals.

Plantation teak
Due to current international situation, business
transactions are at a standstill. Some shipments dispatched
from suppliers before the lockdown arrived at Indian ports,
some were off loaded but could not be delivered as
transport companies had stopped work. The transport
companies and manufacturers are hoping for an easing of
restrictions when the 40 day lockdown period ends.

C&F prices for imports of plantation teak have not
changed since the beginning of the year. When imports
resume it will take time for traders to adjust to the
rupee/US dollar exchange rate which now stands at around
76 rupee to the US dollar.

As all business activity has stopped only prices from one
month ago are reported below.


 Massive decline in exports a possibility
Reporting on a survey of Vietnamese wood-processing
firms, Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan, said wood product
exports could drop as much as 80% this year as buyers
have been asking for delayed shipments of orders. Ha
Cong Tuan said that timber companies reported losses of
around US$1.06 million during the first quarter of this


South Korea to investigate plywood imports from

The Vietnam press has reported that South Korea is
considering imposing an anti-dumping duty of around 10% on
plywood imported from Vietnam. The Ministry of Economy
and Finance is supposed to make a decision within three

The claim is that prices for plywood imported from Vietnam
are ‘abnormal’ and are adversely affecting South Korean
industries. The plywood in question is used for interior and
exterior work, furniture, packaging boxes and interior goods.
The investigation will cover the period from 2016 to the first
half of 2019.

The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has
said in recent years the market share of imported Vietnamese
plywood has undermined locally manufactured plywood
leading to a decline in employment in the industry, lower
capacity utilisation and lower profits.


Investigation of hardwood plywood and wooden
cabinet exports

The Ministry of Trade has published a list of 12 products
which are at risk of being investigated by the US for trade
defense measures or fraud and illegal conveyance. The list
includes hardwood plywood, wooden cabinets and

For hardwood plywood originating from Việt Nam, the US
Department of Commerce is considering initiation of trade
a defence investigation.

Statistics shows that China’s exports of hardwood
plywood to the US fell from US$1.1 billion in 2016 to
$215.6 million in 2019. In the same period, Việt Nam’s
exports to the US rose from US$33.4 million to US$322.2

Việt Nam’s exports of the other products exported to the
US and the EU also saw significant increases while
China’s saw declines due to the US and the EU’s
impositions of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. The
origin of the products in the list will be investigated.



 CIPEM and Unions provide guidance on virus risk

The Center for Timber Producers and Exporters of the
State of Mato Grosso (Cipem), in partnership with trade
unions has developed an action plan to raise awareness on
preventing the spread of the corona virus.

The Timber Industry Union of Northern Mato Grosso
State (Sindusmad) has worked with logging companies to
introduce measures to prevent virus infections in the
industry which would result in production being
suspended. In the state of Mato Grosso the forest sector is
responsible for 90,000 direct and indirect jobs and factory
closures would be catastrophic.

Among the measures in the action plan is the preparation
and distribution of flyers and posters to the associated
timber companies. According to Sindusmad, the Union has
encouraged awareness raising through the distribution of
these explanatory materials in accordance with the
recommendations of the World Health Organization
(WHO) and the Ministry of Health.

The Union is anxious that companies in the forest sector
continue working taking due care to avoid infection of
workers and staff. The association points out that the
logging activity takes place in open areas; has no public
service and there is no risk of people crowding.

Another initiative of the Union is to offer advice to
companies as they struggle to comply with measures
announced by the Federal Government to try to minimise
the economic and financial risks from the pandemic.

Forest sector will benefit from the new law
A recently adopted Law, N?13.986, known locally as the
Agro Law aims to expand opportunities for an increase in
credit for rural projects as well asaccess to competitive

Analyst write, “this may benefit forest operators as the law
includes forest plantations, conservation of natural forests
and support for the management of natural forests”.

According to the law a Rural Product Certificate (CPR)
may be issued to any individual or legal entity which
exploits natural or planted forests or who promotes the
first processing of forest products.

According to the National Forest Information System
(SNIF), the forestry sector generated approximately R$20
billion in 2019. Of this total, R$2 billion was from nontimber
forest products and R$18 billion from wood
products. Around 80% of the raw material was from forest
plantations, the balance from natural forests.

For the Brazilian Forest Service, the issuance of the CPR
for forest products is a significant advance in the sector
because this means that another credit line alternative will
be available to the producer or the forest manager to
finance forest activities.

Export update
In March 2020, the Brazilian exports of wood-based
products (except pulp and paper) declined 4.4% in value
compared to March 2019, from US$276.0 million to
US$264.0 million.

The value of pine sawnwood exports in March dropped
22% year on year (US$50.0 million 2019 and US$39.0
million March 2020). The volume of exports fell 18% over
the same period, from 261,300 cu.m to 213,400 cu.m.

Tropical sawnwood exports decreased 28% in volume,
from 47,100 cu.m in March 2019 to 34,000 cu.m in March
2020. In value terms exports also dropped 28% from US$
20 million to US14.4 million, over the same period.

Pine plywood exports in March fell 23% in value year on
year from US$55.9 million to US$43.1 million. The
volume of exports also dropped but by a lesser amount
decreasing 11% from 204,700 cu.m to 182,400 cu.m.

March 2020 tropical plywood exports plummeted over
50% in terms of volume and by 44% in value from 9,600
cu.m (US$3.6 million) in March 2019 to 4,600 cu.m (US
2.0 million) in March 2020.

In contrast to the general decline in exports, wooden
furniture exports in March 2020 rose from US$44.6
million in March 2019 to US$46.2 million in March 2020.
However the value of furniture exports in the first quarter
of 2020 illustrated the impact of the virus pandemic.

For the Bento Gonšalves furniture cluster there was a 7%
decline in the value of exports compared to the same
quarter of 2019 and this was repeated in Rio Grande do
Sul where there was also a drop of 7%.

The Bento Gonšalves furniture cluster, which includes
about 300 manufacturing companies, faced a sharp fall in
exports to the United States. There was a decline of around
37% in business in the US when compared the first quarter
of 2019. For April, the Furniture Industry Association of
Bento Gonšalves (Sindmˇveis) is forecasting a 50%
decline in export earnings in the cluster.

Pandemic will devastate exports in 2020
The National Confederation of Industry (CNI) has said a
global recession caused by the pandemic could reduce
Brazil's exports by at least US$18.6 billion this year. This
is equivalent an 8.25% decline compared to 2019.

The Agricultural Federation of Paran?(FAEP) has said
that Paran?has 13% of Brazil`s forest resources and that
in the first two months of this year exports of agricultural
products shrank 10%. In case of forest products the
reduction of shipments was 35%.

The FAEP also suggested that the poor export
performance was unaffected by the appreciation of the US
dollar but that the impact of the pandemic up-ended
exchanges rates such that the real dropped to R$5.19 to the
dollar in March.


 According to a study on the impact on the corona virus on
the Peruvian economy by the firm Ipsos, published by the
newspaper El Comercio, around 40% of Peruvians are
unemployed or are not receiving any income and 70% of
the workers are in the informal sector are without income.



The Ministry of Labour has reported that as of 20 April
more than 7,000 companies have suspended employee
salaries for three months.

Survey - Impact of pandemic on Peru’s timber sector

1. Are logging operations still working?

In Peru, the average stoppage of operations in the case is
90 to 95%. This causes the primary transformation to be
working with roundwood from last year's harvests.

2. Are mills/factories still working?
The government has issued regulations where production
in the country is only for companies related to food,
agriculture, agribusiness and large mining. Companies in
other areas could work as long as their production is
related to or supplying activities related to agriculture or
food. For example, if a company supplies pallets to an
agri-industrial company, it is valid.

3. Considering both upstream and downstream
processing, have workers been laid off?

Usually administrative, accounting, legal employees if
they are working from home. Workers of other types of
work have not been dismissed, but if they are on vacation,
under contract or agreement with the company. Two
weeks ago the government gave a legal alternative called
"Perfect Suspension", in which a worker continues to be
employed and continues to receive health insurance, but
does not work and the company does not pay him for a
maximum period of 90 days, not reactivate, other
measures must be assessed so as not to put the company at
financial risk.

4. Are laid off workers receiving payment either from
companies or government?

Laid off workers do not receive government subsidies
unless they demonstrate that they are extremely poor and
vulnerable. If so, they can receive around US$220 / month
/ family.

5. Are timber companies receiving government

Not yet. Although currently the authorities of the National
Government are holding coordination meetings with the
actors of the sector to issue regulations that reactivate the
forestry sector.

6. Are companies still fulfilling orders placed precrisis?
There are logging companies that have delivered much of
their production to customers on time. There are several
export orders that have been canceled, other ready orders
cannot be shipped because ships have not been paid or are
in short supply.

7. Are domestic logistics for the timber industry

As the wood products are not considered of first necessity,
the land transportation of wood within the country is
currently having problems. There is a shortage of
transportation. If containers are available, and seaports are
operational and working, although somewhat restricted.

Another problem that is arising is the logistics for the
supply of spare parts for the machinery of the industries.
The few number of companies still operating are working
until the machinery fails.

8. What will be the main challenges in ramping up

The government, through the national forest authority,
must dictate support and reactivation mechanisms for the

There are towns such as Iquitos, Pucallpa and Puerto
Maldonado that have terminated labour contracts with

9. Please estimate how long it would take for
production to get back to pre-Covid Crisis levels?

If the appropriate measures are given, it is estimated that
in 6-8 months at the latest it could return to the previous






Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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