China: rise in CIF prices for sawnwood imports

According to China Customs, in the first half of 2021 sawnwood imports totalled 14.06 million m3 valued at US$3.573 billion, down 17% in volume and down 3% in value.

Of total sawnwood imports, sawn softwood imports fell 24% to 9.66 million m3, accounting for 69% of the national total, down 6% over the same period of 2020. Sawn hardwood imports rose 3% to 4.41 m3 because imports from the top sources – Thailand, the United States, Russia and the Philippines – rose 6%, 2%, 7% and 98% respectively.

Of total sawn hardwood imports, tropical sawnwood imports were 2.84 million m3 valued at US$942 million, down 5% in volume and down 3% in value and accounted for about 20% of all imports.

It is worth noting that the CIF prices for imported sawnwood rose in the first half of 2021. CIF prices for imported sawn softwood, sawn hardwood and tropical sawnwood were US$254, US$196, US$381 and US$321 per m3, up 17%, 15%, 7% and 2% respectively over the same period of 2020.

Possible reasons for the increase are because prices in global timber markets have soared as a result of demand recovery in advanced markets, and because some producing countries have reduced harvests. In addition, the global logistics efficiency has been disrupted, and the container turn-around is not smooth.

Another reason is because domestic demand in China continues to rise, and there is a ban on domestic harvesting of natural forests. It is expected that the price of timber will continue to rise in the near future.

Source: ITTO