China: Timber imports from Africa on an upward trajectory from 2011 to 2017

04-04-2018
ITTO,China,Africa,logs,sawnwood

Logs

China imported around 23 million cubic metres of logs from African countries between 2011 and 2017. The continent remains one of China’s main source of tropical hardwood logs.

In 2017, log imports from Africa totalled 4.195 million cubic metres valued at US$13.26 billion, up seven per cent in volume and 12 per cent in value year-on-year and accounting for 40 per cent of all tropical hardwood logs imports. Equatorial Guinea was the top supplier, shipping 1.05 million cubic metres in 2017.

Countries from which exports have been increasing include South Africa, Zambia, the Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Zambian logs were the most expensive, reaching an average price of US$1,386 per cubic metre. Most of these logs shipped were rosewood substitutes.

 

In million cubic metres

 

Average price (US$/cbm)

Equatorial Guinea

1.05

255

Republic of Congo

0.78

292

Mozambique

0.53

550

Cameroon

0.5

284

Nigeria

0.47

716

Gambia

0.13

743

Ghana

0.13

628

South Africa

0.11

123

Zambia

0.09

1386

Other

0.4

 

Total

4.19

 

China’s log imports from Africa in 2017. Source: China Customs

 

Sawnwood

China does not buy much sawnwood but the volumes have been increasing over the years. It imported 788,000 cubic metres of sawnwood from Africa in 2017 valued at US$433 million, a YoY increase of 46 per cent. These imports accounted for just 11 per cent of total tropical sawnwood imports.

 

In million cubic metres

 

Average price (US$/cbm)

Gabon

41.74

553

Cameroon

16.95

428

Republic of Congo

4.99

586

Nigeria

3.64

743

Mozambique

2.91

624

Benin

2.17

752

Ghana

1.71

473

Other

4.69

 

Total

78.8

550

China’s sawnwood imports from Africa in 2017. Source: China Customs

Gabon was the main supplier in 2017, making up almost half of all tropical sawn hardwood imports. The average price for imported tropical sawnwood fell 10 per cent to US$550 per cubic metre in 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Zhangjiagang and Jinjiang Ports in Jiangsu province are the main ports in China handling shipments from Africa.

 

Source: ITTO