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Russian log exports to plummet by 70% in 2022

[Feb 9, 2023]

After Russia imposed restrictions on the export of its domestic logs for a year, its export volume of logs to foreign countries is expected to drop by about 70% in 2022 to 3.5-3.8 million cubic meters. China remains the main importer of Russian logs, followed by Finland and Belarus.

According to the Russian forest management agency, this decline is predictable and justifies the effectiveness of the restrictions on the export of softwood logs and precious hardwood logs, which will be implemented from January 1, 2022. Some market participants and transporters also believe that the ban is very effective in stimulating the Russian domestic wood processing industry.

Among the logs exported by Russia, China still accounts for the majority of the export share, accounting for about 59% of the total export volume. Although there is a 4% decline, the total volume is still as high as 2.25 million cubic meters.

Among the unfriendly countries importing Russian logs, Finland still ranked first, buying about 789,000 cubic meters, most of which were concentrated in the first quarter. Overall, Russian exports to Finland will fall by 84% in 2022.

Belarus is the country with the third highest purchase of logs from Russia. In contrast, log exports to Belarus increased by 18% to 242,000 cubic meters. In total, Russia exported 477,000 cubic meters to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, less than half of the total in 2021. Kyrgyzstan follows next - in 2022, 208,110 cubic meters of logs were exported to the country, which is 68% less than in 2021.

Excluding Belarus, Russian log sales to the UAE increased by 53% to 46,000 cubic meters, South Korea increased by 106% to 63,000 cubic meters and the Marshall Islands increased by 76% to 36,400 cubic meters.

In general, the log export control measures implemented by Russia have played a positive role in the development of its domestic wood processing industry. Although the government hopes that the wood processing industry will maintain a growth trend in 2023, due to the EU embargo and reduced domestic demand, market participants do not expect strong growth in the next few years.