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China's total timber imports reached 15.8 million m3 in Q1 2023

[Apr 26, 2023]

Import quantity
In the first quarter of this year, China's total timber imports reached 15.8 million m3, Slightly lower than 16.32 million m3 in the first quarter of 2022.

From the perspective of import situation, in January before the Spring Festival holiday this year, due to the impact of a decrease in global demand for wood products, the number of wood imports decreased significantly, with a year-on-year decrease of 18.2%. However, imports from February to March showed a slight increase compared to the same period last year. Compared to last year, the import volume in January decreased significantly, resulting in a decrease of 400000 m3 in the overall timber import volume in the first quarter.

Import amount
According to the import volume, the price of wood decreased in the first quarter. Especially in March, the quantity of wood imports was higher than the same period last year, but the overall price was lower than the same period last year. The average import price has decreased by 72 yuan per cubic yuan compared to the same period last year.

- Softwood
The overall decrease in timber import volume is mainly affected by the price decline in several major timber producing countries, with domestic CIF prices following the overall decline in the first quarter. The decline in prices of softwood from wood producing areas such as New Zealand, Germany, and Canada is the biggest influencing factor, while the price decline of basic materials such as spruce and radial pine is more significant.

- Hardwood
At the same time, the prices of imported hardwood have mostly maintained an upward trend. According to the statistical analysis of wood data, the prices of common hardwoods such as Augustine, birch, and oak did not fluctuate significantly compared to the same period last year. However, the arrival price of teak in Hong Kong increased significantly compared to the same period last year. At the beginning of the year, the price of raw wood increased by 600 yuan per cubic meter, while that of sawn wood increased by 900 yuan per cubic meter.

The arrival prices of Eucalyptus, Sabili, and African peach core sawn timber have decreased the most significantly, dropping to nearly 1950 yuan, 3760 yuan, and 3920 yuan, respectively.

From the annual average of timber arriving at Hong Kong, teak wood has shown a significant increase (the average for logs and sawn timber in 2022 was $601 per cubic meter, compared to $759 in the early first quarter).

From the overall situation, the import prices of soft wood such as pine and fir may still remain weak in the second quarter.

In terms of the furniture industry commonly used for hardwood, in the export trade index in January this year, prices increased by 22.7% year-on-year, but the value index decreased by 4.8% and the quantity index decreased by 22.3%. Affected by the Spring Festival holiday, the overall index in February was also low. From data analysis, it can be seen that export orders for mid to low end furniture are decreasing. But after March, driven by the recovery of market demand, there will be some relief, and the price of furniture manufacturing wood will also increase.

In addition, the overall price increase of hardwood may remain flat, and the increase will not be too high. Meanwhile, with the low willingness to ship in the timber market, the prices of circulating timber in the market may also stabilize in the second quarter.