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International Log & Sawnwood Prices

01 – 15th May



  Perceptions of shipping challenges from producers
Millers in the region have provided some comments on
shipping opportunities and market developments saying
they have been told ports in Italy are closed for timber
shipments and that there are many containers awaiting
dispatch from the ports.

Producers say there are few new orders coming from but
as the restrictions there are eased this should change.
However, producers do not expect to see any major
increase in orders for several months.

The authorities in Spain have relaxed some restrictions on
travel and companies are slowly adjusting to virus
management regimes but this is having a downward
impact on production in Spain. Producers say demand in
Spain for sapelli and tali is now low.

The problems of shipping to Iraq continue and producers
have found that cargo movement through Umm Qasr and
Bassra Ports is a major problem for shippers.

There are buyers of West African timbers in the
Philippines but they have now asked shippers to delay any
further shipments. The Philippines government recently
announced it will ease quarantine measures in some parts
of the country but will extend restrictions in Manila and
some other cities until 31 May.

CAR producers unable to transport due to border

In Cameroon shipments that have been delayed are slowly
been loaded and dispatched to ports in Europe which are
still operating and to China. Production levels have been
driven down as measures to eliminate the spread of
infection amongst workers are implemented.

Producers report delays in having documents processed as
so many government offices are without the normal staff

With the border between the Central African Republic and
Cameroon closed, producers in CAF, while still milling,
cannot transport to the port in Cameroon.

Timber companies continue to operate in Gabon
The decision by the government in Gabon to ease travel
restrictions comes as welcome relief to workers, many of
whom had been laid off. The lockdown was introduced 13
April covering Libreville and three neighbouring

The easing of restrictions means that the so-called ‘nonessential’
businesses can reopen. However Gabon’s
borders are still closed and the 1800 hr to 0600 hr curfew
is still in force.

The Ministry of Forestry was, as of mid-May, not fully
staffed but a team is providing the Laissez Passer so
timber companies can continue operations.

As could be expected there have been no price


 Restrictions to run to the end of May
Up to 8 May Ghana had conducted 160,501 corona virus
tests which resulted in 4,700 confirmed cases. But in just a
few days cases had risen to 5,408 according to the Ghana
Health website. The increase was attributed to the failure
of communities to follow guidelines.

There is no lockdown in Ghana but the presidential order
on public gatherings and social distancing has been
extended to the end of May. Borders remain closed until
the end of May.

The Ministry of Finance will formulate a recovery plan
which is expected to cover broad sectors of the economy
and include priority areas such as health, roads, education,
food and agriculture, manufacturing and security.

The 2020 budget projections have been impacted by the
pandemic and a financing gap of cedi 11.4 billion has been
projected because of falling oil revenues and import
duties. The economy was forecast to expand 6.8% in 2020
but the new projection is for a record low of 1.5%.


Exports slide due to corona virus
Ghana exported a total of 35,508 cu.m of wood products
in the first two months of the year which earned euro
17.64 million a decline of over 30% in volume and value.
The comparable figures for 2019 are 53,171 cu.m valued
at euro 28.04 million according to the Timber Industry
Development Division (TIDD).

Mills in Ghana have orders for which approved export
documents have been obtained but they are unable to ship
as importers have been slow in providing shipping
instructions in order to delay shipments for as long as
possible in the hope that the situation in their markets will

Data from the TIDD is showing that, despite the
pandemic, February shipments held up surprisingly well.

Decade export review
A study of Ghana’s 10-years annual timber and wood
product exports showed that the country recorded her
highest volume of 403,000 cu.m in 2010 with the lowest in
2012 (251,000 cu.m), according to data from the Timber
Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry
Commission (FC) .

Export volumes started to pick up from 2013 after the
2012 dip and in 2016 rose to 397,000 cu.m, the second
highest export volume in the decade. The 2016 volume
earned the country Euro 225.0 million also the highest
revenue recorded during the period.

The data also showed that in 2017, the country’s wood
product exports declined and this continued to 2019 when
exports dropped to 300,000 cu.m and earnings were only
Euro 150.60 million.

Of the total export volume for the decade, air-dried
sawnwood (37.9%) and kiln-dried sawnwood (15.2%)
accounting for 53% of exports followed by plywood
(17.6%) exported to regional markets.

Export market performance 2010/19
According to data from the TIDD, Africa (47%) and
Europe (23%) were the leading market destinations for
Ghana’s wood products between 2010 and 2013 after
which things changed.

In 2014, for the first time, the exports to Asian markets
exceed those to neighbouring African countries and
Europe. In 2014 Asian markets accounted for 50% of
exports and this had risen to 75% in 2017. Asian markets
maintained their dominance until 2018 and 2019 when the
proportion going to Asia dropped (72% in 2018 and 68%
in 2019).

The US and the Middle East markets accounted for an
average 4% each throughout the 2010 to 2019 period.

Analysts speculate that the impact of the pandemic on
global demand will drive exports down trends. However,
when the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
(AfCFTA) becomes operational, the intra-Africa trade
could greatly expand.

Cargo handling falls
The volume of cargo handled by the country’s two
seaports, Tema and Takoradi, is expected to decline by
some half a million metric tonnes in the first quarter of
2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The pandemic
continues to restrict global trading activities.

According to the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Shipping,
Dr. Mbiah, this would be a 15% fall from the 3.5 million
metric tonnes recorded in the first quarter of 2019.

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authourity (GPHA), which
had seen continuous growth in traffic throughput over the
past years, recently upgraded facilities at Tema and
Takoradi to attract more businesses in 2020.

Help for small businesses
The government will support around 200,000 SME
entreprises with a cedi 600 million stimulus package
through the National Board for Small Scale Industries

Task force intercepts illegal timber
On the basis of a tip, the Forestry Commission Illegal
Timber Task Force intercepted trucks loaded with illegal
timber in the Oti Region. The illegal operators took
advantage of the current crisis protocols which restricts the
movement of individuals but allowed the movement of
logs and wood products intended for overland export to
neighboring countries.

The Executive Director of the TIDD, Dr. Ben Nathan
Donkor who accompanied the task force, hinted of a new
strategy with more check-points on some selected routes
in the region to curb illegal activities. The intercepted
trucks have been impounded arrests made.


 Furniture makers face huge losses due to lockdown
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority
(MIDA) has reported the Muar Furniture Association
president Ong Yeou Huan as saying Association members
expect to lose about RM500 million in revenue because of
the month long lockdown. The wood-based industry in
Peninsula Malaysia was not categorised as an essential
sector so operations were brought to a halt.

Some restrictions eased but not business as usual
The Malaysian government recently announced a fourth
extension to 9 June of the ‘movement control order
(lockdown) but with some other restrictions eased.

On May 4, the government implemented a conditional
lockdown under which restrictions on most economic were
removed. However analysts write, “It is not business as
usual. All businesses that are allowed to open must follow
strict rules on close contact, face masks, distancing and
limit inter-state movement.”

The period of the latest extension to 9 June spans several
major Malaysian events that would normally involve
movement of many people. The first is Hari Raya
Aidilfitri, a national celebration for Muslims; in early
June, Sabah will celebrate their Kaamatan Festival while
Sarawak celebrates Gawai Festival. However, because of
the continuing restricts there should be no interstate

All mass social, cultural and religious gathering are
prohibited, no team sports are allowed and educational
institutions remain closed.

Central Bank cuts interest rates
Bank Negara (Central Bank) cut interest rates to try and
cushion the negative economic impact of the pandemic.
The latest cut was the biggest in a decade bringing the rate
down to a level previously only seen during the global
financial crisis.

Furniture manufacturers urged to maintain close links
with US buyers

Malaysian furniture industry players should prepare
themselves for opportunities to export various types of
furniture to the United States, post- Covid-19 according to
the US trade journal Furniture Today.

The journal editor said manufacturers in Malaysia should
maintain a strong partnership with their respective US
customers so as to be ready to resume business.

MIFF re-scheduled to 2021
Organisers of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair,
one of the biggest industry shows in Southeast Asia, have
rescheduled the 26th edition to 2021 in view of the global
corona virus pandemic. The 2021 event will be held from
March 8-11 at the Malaysia International Trade and
Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and Putra World Trade

The show was planned for its traditional opening in March
this year and first postponed to June however the
organisers said that taking into account the significant
disruption of international travel and restrictions on
movement within Malaysia they decided to reschedule. 


  Indonesia’s timber legality system remains in force but
subject to revision

The Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti
Nurbaya, has confirmed that, after a series of meetings
with relevant ministries following the Ministry of Trade
suspension of the SVLK Regulation, the Ministry of Trade
will withdraw that suspension until revisions of the SVLK
are agreed.

In a written statement Siti said the SVLK (Sistem
Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu/Timber Legality Assurance
System) continues to be applied. At the same time she
announced increased financial support for export-oriented,
timber SMEs.

It was further announced that the process of revising the
Ministry of Trade regulation would involve the Ministry
of Environment and Forestry as well as the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

Interest free loans sought for SMEs
The Secretary General of the Indonesian Furniture and
Handicraft Industry Association (Himki), Abdul Sobur,
has announced that existing orders held by furniture
manufacturers are only sufficient for them to sustain
production for about 8 weeks from 10 May. This is
because overseas buyers have delayed placing new orders.

He said companies with limited cash reserves will only be
able to pay wages for a short time and as a result the only
option at present is for companies to lay off employees.
He estimated that if 70% of furniture manufacturers who
are members of the Association have to lay off workers
around 280,000 wage earners could be affected directly
and thousands indirectly affected.


In related news, the Deputy Chairman of the Small and
Medium Industries in Himki, Regina Kindangen, said
many SME furniture and handicraft makers stopped work
in mid-March as orders ran out. She pointed out that
furniture and craft manufacture is dominated by SMEs
who are not well equipped to survive financially. The
Himki noted the national furniture industry workforce is
around 2 million.

The Director General of Small and Medium and Various
Industries at the Ministry of Industry, Gati
Wibawaningsih, has written to the Coordinating Ministry
for Economic Affairs proposing an interest free loan
scheme for SMEs.

The Ministry of Industry has identified 10 industrial
sectors, including the timber sector, badly affected by the
lack of orders and lack of capital reserves to maintain the


 No timber tender sale for May
The Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) postponed the
monthly tender sales for the third consecutive time. The
MTE postponed the sale in March and April due to the
virus outbreak.

Most sawmills are now in the process of applying for an
operations permit from the authorities because mills have
to demonstrate acceptable covid-19 prevention measures
for staff and workers.

All factories in Myanmar were closed 10 to 19 April for
the Myanmar New Year Holiday and remained closed
after the holiday under Covid-19 Prevention Measure

Exporters seek guidance on meeting EU rules
According to exporters, importers in the EU are now
asking for more and more documents to verify the legality
of shipments from Myanmar. However the exporters
complain they have not been effectively guided and
advised by the authorities on what mechanism they should
apply to verify legality to the satisfaction of the Competent
Authorities in the EU.

Exporters are urging the government to step up advocacy
efforts to ensure the continued timber trade with EU.

Welfare benefits for laid off workers
Workers registered for social welfare programmes and
who have temporarily lost their jobs can apply for 40% of
their daily wages from the government. This is because
their employers businesses were shut down during the
inspections by joint teams comprising representatives of
Region/State governments, the Ministry of Health and
Sports and the Ministry of Labour and Immigration and
Population to check the application of rules and
recommendations to control the spread of the virus.

It is estimated as many as 50,000 factory workers have
been furloughed or dismissed as a result of insufficient
supplies and cancellations of order. The garment industry
accounted for the majority of the job losses.

Stimulus package welcomed
A stimulus package to mitigate the economic shock from
the impact of virus control measures has been welcomed
by businesses but, say analysts, details remain vague and
there are doubts on whether the available funds can
support Myanmar’s formal and informal economy.

The government’s 15-page document identifies more than
50 measures to support the economy but no budget was
revealed except for the K500 billion (US$360 million) in
loans for small- and medium-sized businesses in selected
sectors, an expansion of an existing K100 billion (US$72
million) fund and a K100 billion (US$72 million) fund for
trade financing.


International financing assistance investigated
The government is reportedly negotiating for financial
assistance from the World Bank, the Asian Development
Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it
implement a stimulus plan aimed at providing relief to
businesses and industries affected by the pandemic.

U Kyaw Kyaw Maung, the Governor of the Central Bank
of Myanmar, said they have also been considering
accessing the IMF's Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid
Financing Instrument as there is a possibility that the
economy could slip into recession as consequence of the
pandemic and that restrictions on financial policies have
been eased to alleviate the impact.

FDI Slows but does not come to a halt
Despite a huge increase in approved foreign investments
from US$1.9 billion to US$3.3 billion during the period
between October 2019 and March 2020, the actual inflow
of foreign direct investments (FDI) are lower. At US$500
million the flow of investments in the first quarter of the
year fell short of last year’s US$800 million according to
U Aung Naing Oo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Investment and Foreign Economic Relations.


  20 trillion rupee (US$264bn) stimulus package
The Indian government imposed restrictions on movement
until 17 May. However, the Department for Promotion of
Industry and Internal Trade identified some sectors where
limited activity should be allowed and these include
timber, plywood and wood-based industries as they
provide packaging material to drug and food companies.

The lockdown has resulted in many lay-off and an April
survey by the National Sample Survey and Periodic
Labour Force Surveys suggested that over 136 million
non-agricultural jobs were at immediate risk of losing their
jobs. Workers without formal employment contracts,
casual labourers and those in small companies are the most

To deal with this the government announced a 20 trillion
rupee (US$264bn) economic package (around 10% of
GDP) to support farmers and small businesses.

By mid-May India had more than 70,000 confirmed virus
cases among its 1.3 billion population but this is expected
to expand sharply in the coming weeks.

The government has indicated the strict stay-at-home
restriction will be extended beyond 17 May and new
restrictions will apply.


Overseas orders collapsed in April
In terms of international trade, exports slumped by a
record 35% in March as many consumer countries closed
their ports and borders to try and limit the spread of the
virus. The 29% downturn in March exports came after an
almost 3% month on month rise in February. Overseas
orders collapsed in April which resulted in manufacturers
drastically cutting their workforce.

Reports indicate that to address the problem of inter-state
movement of vehicles with essential goods the
government will take action. In addition, States have been
asked continue work on road maintenance and land
acquisition for new road construction. It is reported that
national highways are now open as are the ports.

Several central government and State ministers have urged
the government to allow economic activity in areas which
are least affected by the virus outbreak to begin what has
been termed the ‚economic battle‘. As restrictions are
gradually eased the government has advised companies
not to try to achieve pre-crisis production until worker
safety and health measures are designed and tested.

Plantation teak
Due to current pandemic international business
transactions are at a standstill. Some plantation log
shipments dispatched before India’s lockout arrived at
ports but as transport was not allowed workers were told
to move the cargoes outside the port compound where they

C&F prices for plantation teak have not changed from the
previous report.

Production and sales has fallen sharply and many workers
have been laid off and have been trying to return to their
home states which has proven extremely difficult. There
are no reports of price movements.


 Successful corona virus containment
After a week with no new corona cases Vietnam's
government eased its 22-day social distancing requirement
on 23 April allowing some businesses to reopen. Vietnam
acted very fast when the virus outbreak was detected in
China by closing the border.

With only 288 confirmed corona cases and no deaths
Vietnam has shown control measures work. Experts on
disease control say Vietnam’s success was due to three
factors: its relatively young population (only 12% are over
60) effective testing and isolation and contact tracing.

Export/import update
In the first 4 months of 2020, wood and wood product
(W&WP) exports earned US$3.2 billion, an increase of
6% compared to the same period last year. Of this, wood
product exports (HS 94) accounted for about US$2.0
billion, while wood exports (HS 44) generated about
US$1.2 billion.

However, in April 2020 W&WP export earnings were
US$673 million, a decline of 31% compared to levels in
March 2020 and -20% compared to April 2019.

Top export markets
US: Over the first 4 months of 2020, the US has topped
the list of Vietnam’s W&WP export markets with the
earning of US$1.56 billion, 48% of total W&WP export
earnings, a year-on-year increase of 16%.

In April 2020, W&WP export to the US was reported at
US$ 89.3 million showing a year-on-year decline of 22%
and a decline of 38% compared to March 2020.

EU: At the end of April 2020, W&WP exports to EU
earned US$257.8 million, down 19% compared to the
same period of 2019. During April 2020, EU markets
consumed just US$37.9 million, 49% less than that of
March 2020 and 51% down compared to the same period
of 2019.

China: In the first 4 months of 2020 the export of W&WP
to China earned US$445.7 million, 14% over the same
period of 2019. With the pandemic, W&WP exports
during April 2020 were reported at US$107 million, down
16% compared to the same period of last year and down
30% against March.

Japan: W&WP exports between January and April 2020
earned US$401.9 million, an increase of 2% compared to
the same period of 2019. Due to the impact of the
pandemic, W&WP exports during April, 2020 accounted
for US$85 million, 20% down compared to the same
period of 2019 and 30% down against March 2020.

South Korea: In the first 4 months of 2020, W&WP
shipped from Vietnam to South Korea earned US$276.9
million, 7% higher than the same period of 2019.

During April, 2020, exports to this market earned
US$105.7 million, 39% above that in March 2020 and
57% higher than in the same period of last year.

Export commodities
Woodchips: During the first 4 months of 2020, woodchip
export earned US$588.96 million, 6% above the same
period of 2019. During April 2020 woodchip exports were
reported at US$39.8 million, 24% lower compared to the
same period of 2019 and 27% lower than March 2020.

Wood pellets: The export of this product in the first 4
months of 2020 maintained steadily growth generating
US$108.2 million, 31% up compared to the same period of
2019. During April 2020 wood pellet exports earned
US$34.5 million, 72% up against April 2019 and 20% up
compared to March 2020.

Plywood: Exports of plywood in the first 4 months of
2020 were valued at US$183.4 million, down 14%
compared to the same period of 2019. In April2020,
plywood export gained US$ 3 million, minus 94%
compared to April, 2019 and down 96% against March.

Wooden chairs and furniture: Exports of these products in
the period January and April 2020 earned US$584 million
and US$1.4 billion respectively, 6% and 3% up compared
to the same period of 2019.

The pandemic, however, has seriously impacted wooden
chairs and furniture exports in April 2020 which dipped
37% and 28% respectively compared to April 2019.

W&WP imports
During the first 4 months of 2020 Vietnam imported
US$726.7 million of W&WP, 8% down compared to the
first 4 months of last year. The decline in imports
included logs (-20%); sawn wood (-12%); particleboard
(-23%) and plywood (-20%). In contrast, imports of
veneer, fibreboard, wooden chairs and wooden furniture


 Furniture production falls in March
The furniture sector experienced the second most intense
month on month decline in output in March according to a
survey of 23 industrial sectors by the Brazilian Institute of
Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The survey showed that
there was a 27% drop in March output compared to
February and compared to March 2019 the drop was 12%.

For the first quarter there was an almost 4% decline and
the downward trend is likely to extend into April and
perhaps beyond as most companies have ceased

Associations work to mitigate impact of crisis
The Furniture Industry Association of Rio Grande do Sul
(MOVERGS) has joined efforts with other national
associations to seek solutions to mitigate the impact of the
shutdowns. The Association had been making some
progress to recover from the domestic economic crisis
over the past five years and growth was projected for 2020
until the pandemic hit.

Measures already taken by the Association together with
the Ministry of Economy and the Brazilian Association of
Furniture Industries (ABIMËVEL) include:

 discount of the employer's portion of the national
social security tax (INSS) during the next three
 postponement of FGTS (Employment Time
Guarantee Fund) payment for up to 90 days;
 opening of extraordinary budget credits;
 automatic renewal for 90 days of Debt Clearance
Certificate that expires in the period in which the
measures against the spread of the COVID-19 are
in force;
 relaxing the rules for temporary suspension of the
employment contract

The Association has also proposed new measures such as
the creation of credit lines for medium-sized companies
with revenues between R$10 million and R$200 million
and the renegotiation of federal taxes, whose proposal is to
make the tax payment in 15 installments.

Exports in the first quarter 2020
2020 started with a slight recovery in demand for some
wood products and a consequent improvement in prices
says the Brazilian Association for Mechanically Processed
Timber (ABIMCI). According to ABIMCI, this
encouraging improvement in the business environment
reflected the recovery of demand for wood products
(excluding wooden furniture) shipped in February and

This came as welcome news as there was a reduction in
export earnings in the second half of 2019 which came
hand in hand with falling prices.

According to ABIMCI, the impact of the pandemic on first
quarter business appeared minimal but only when April
data is available will it be possible to better evaluate the
impact of the pandemic on trade.

IBAMA aims to become international reference point in
the timber supply chain

The Directorate of Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and
Forests (DBFLO/IBAMA) has published guidelines on
exports of wood products and by-products of native timber
species from natural or planted forests. The technical note
aims to show how it will track the origin of the products
especially from the natural forests where the focus will be
on documents that certify origin and legality of the
products along the supply chain.

The guidelines specifically cover aspects of operations
between the National System for the Control of the Origin
of Forest Products (SINAFLOR) and Export DOF
(Document of Forest Origin), the operationalisation of
Export DOF and also the other permits essential for the
export of timber products and by-products.

The Export DOF is the license established by Forest Law
12.651/12 for customs exit clearance for wood products
and by-products of native timber species. The process set
out by SINAFLOR, comprises the reporting on the
approval of the area to be exploited, analysis and permits
for logging projects and also the authorisation of
harvesting declarations. The processing stage covers all
transactions related to storage, transportation,
transformation up to the final domestic destination.

With this legislation covering access and sustainable use
of natural resources IBAMA hopes to become an
international reference point in transparency and
monitoring of the timber supply chain.


 Protocol on Covid-19 control in the forestry sector
The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri)
approved a protocol for the surveillance, prevention and
health control measures against COVID-19 for forest
sector workers. This is in response to the government’s
economic reactivation plan.

The protocol establishes general guidelines for the
surveillance, prevention and control of COVID-19 in the
development of forestry activities, whether in the forest, in
nurseries, plantations, camps, facilities, and in all work
environments within each harvesting phase. of wood and
non-wood products including, for example, cleaning and
disinfection, personal and collective protection measures.

Every forestry sector employer must prepare a plan for the
surveillance, prevention and control of COVID19 at work
to be approved by the Ministry of Health.

Budget for control and monitor forests and their forest

For the first time the Ministry of Economy and Finance
(MEF) has included forest control and surveillance
activities as criteria in the budget allocation for the
National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR).

This was highlighted by the SERFOR Executive Director,
Alberto Gonzales-Z˙˝iga, who said this will strengthen
the efforts of his organization in its fight against illegal
logging, the illegal trafficking of forest resources and other
environmental crimes.

Three budget allocations have been incorporated: Forest
and Forest Resources Surveillance (at the source);
Surveillance and Control in the Access and Use of the
Forests and Forest Resources (during use) and
Surveillance and Control in the Transport of Forest
Resources from the Origin (Forest) to the Destination
(Transformation Center).

Gonzales-Z˙˝iga said that in this way SERFOR, the
regional authorities and the Supervisory Agency for Forest
Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR) will be able to act
more effectively to control forest resources from their
origin in the forest to the mill.

Delay in start of harvesting season
Forest harvesting is seasonal and takes place between May
and November but this year opportunities for harvesting
have been disrupted because of the virus control measures.
The pre-harvesting operations by entrepreneurs before
accessing the concession are extensive and include
securing permission to access the forest, arranging of
machinery and organizing the labour force.

This year nothing could be started. The government plans
to ease restrictions at the end of May and only then can
preparations begin.

Currently all primary, secondary and value-added plants
are under lockdown.







Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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