China: First quarter GDP exceeds expectations, wood imports fall to a new low

By Eric Wong, Canada Wood China

Total wood imports in 1Q/2018 dropped to 5.49 million m3 in February, a 14.81 per cent year-on-year and 35.2 per cent month-on-month fall. Chinese ports tend to transact fewer shipments of wood and instead stock more in their inventories in the first two months of the year due to the Chinese New Year season. However the first quarter’s results are a new low.

Log and softwood inventory at Taicang, Wanfang and Meijing Ports increased steadily from September 2017 (1.05 million m3) to hit 1.26 million m3 in February, a 2.5 per cent YoY growth.

The coming months should see imports rise and inventories going down, as is the case for softwood from Russia and Canada. Shipments from both countries fell to a new low in February. Canadian softwood lumber fell 38.9 per cent year-on-year to 194,423m3, almost half compared to last month’s volume.

China’s GDP growth exceeded expectations in the first quarter of this year, reaching 6.8 per cent, ahead of the 6.7 per cent previously predicted.

Real estate investment is expected to dampen as China reigns in on excessive speculation.

Industrial output growth in March slowed down to six per cent compared to the 7.2 per cent achieved in January and February, suggesting that environmental policies to curb industrial pollution are taking root in the country.

Retail sales were up 9.7 per cent in March, which match readings in the first two months.

Industrial production however grew 6.4 per cent, albeit at a slower pace compared to the first two months of the year. Fixed asset investment was weak at a 7.5 per cent year-on-year climb, falling from 7.9 per cent in January and February.


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