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China's logs import market report in the first quarter
According to China Customs, log imports in the first quarter of 2023 totaled 9.27 million cubic meters, valued at US$1.606 billion, a decrease of 7% in volume and 18% in value compared to the first quarter of 2022. In addition, the average price of imported logs is US$ 173 per cubic meter (CIF), which is 12% lower than the same period in 2022.
Of the total log imports, softwood log imports rose slightly by 1% to 6.72 million cubic meters, accounting for 72% of the national total. However, the average price of imported softwood logs fell by 16% to $146 per cubic meter (CIF) compared to the same period in 2022.
Hardwood log imports fell 24% to 2.55 million cubic meters, accounting for 28% of the national total. The average price of imported hardwood logs fell by 12% to $245 per cubic meter (CIF) compared to the same period in 2022.
Of the total hardwood log imports, tropical log imports amounted to 1.54 million cubic meters at a cif value of $385 million, down 14% and 32% in value from the same period in 2022, accounting for 17% of total national imports.
The average price of imported tropical logs is $251 CIF per cubic meter, down 20% from the same period in 2022.
After abandoning COVID policies in December, the economy has been recovering, but at a much slower pace than expected. China's imports contracted sharply (-8%) in April, while exports rose 8.5%, down from 14.8% in March.
In the first quarter of 2023, New Zealand and Germany are China's largest and second largest log import suppliers, and China's imports of logs from these two suppliers account for more than 50% of the total log imports. Log imports to China from New Zealand rose 13% to 3.78 million cubic metres, but log imports from Germany fell 24% to 1.17 million cubic metres.
China's imports of Russian logs have fallen sharply, mainly due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In the first quarter of 2023, China's log imports from Russia fell by 38% to 460,000 cubic meters.
Log imports from Poland surge
In the first quarter of 2023, China's log imports from Poland surged to 330,000 cubic meters. In 2017, the Polish forest was hit by a strong storm, and nearly 10 million cubic meters of logs were blown down. A large number of fallen logs are felled and exported to China. China's log imports from Poland have been growing since 2017. China’s log imports from Poland surged more than 700% in 2018.
CIF prices for log imports drop
CIF prices for softwood log, hardwood log and tropical log imports fell by 12%, 16%, 12% and 20% respectively in the first quarter of 2023.
Softwood log imports were relatively stable in the first quarter of 2023, while hardwood log imports fell sharply and log prices fell. With the gradual recovery of logistics, ports, and highways across the country, the backlog of inventory across the country is being shipped one after another. Analysts suggest that log prices will remain stable in the second quarter.
After the partial reduction of import tariffs in 2022, the overall cost of logs is expected to decline and stabilize, further reducing the cost pressure on manufacturers.
Tropical log imports down
In the first quarter of 2023, China's tropical log imports fell by 14% to 1.537 million cubic meters.
The top three suppliers of tropical logs to China are Papua New Guinea (45%), Solomon Islands (27%) and Republic of Congo (10%). In the first quarter of 2023, 82% of China's tropical log imports came from these three countries.
China imports tropical logs from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. In the first quarter of 2023, the Republic of the Congo will grow by 2%, 3% and 88% to 693,000 cubic meters, 416,000 cubic meters and 152,000 cubic meters respectively.
CIF prices rise for tropical log imports from DRC
While import prices of tropical logs generally fell, the CIF price of China's imports of tropical logs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo rose by 42% in the first quarter of 2023. In addition, the CIF price of Chinese imports of tropical logs from Suriname increased by 8%.
The largest decline in log CIF prices was for log imports from the Republic of Congo, which fell by 20%.