Climbing adhesive prices contribute to price hike of wooden panels across Asia

Photo: Adam Winger/Unsplash

Soaring adhesive prices are squarely impacting wooden board cost. Supply of raw materials of adhesive such as urea sharply dropped after electric supply is disrupted in China, so prices of adhesive climbed in Asia.

Prices of urea and methanol climbed by over 30% in one month, and the prices of melamine soared doubled in the last four months. Some overseas medium-density fibreboard (MDF) plants shutdown temporarily by shortage of adhesive. Manufacturers of MDF and particleboard are hurriedly increasing the sales prices as these products need large amount of adhesive.

Daiken Corporation, a manufacturer of wood panels and furniture products from Osaka, Japan, increased the sales prices of MDF produced in Malaysia and New Zealand since November 2021. This is second price increase since last April. The increase this time is more than 20%, and further increase may be necessary depending on prices of raw materials. The increase is necessary to pass higher cost of wood chip, adhesive and ocean freight. In particular, adhesive prices climbed fast by increase of crude oil prices and export restriction of urea by China so adhesive manufacturers ask 1.4-2 times higher prices compared to the first quarter this year.

Daiken has two MDF plants in Malaysia with total monthly production of 20,000m3 and two plants in New Zealand with total production of 35,000m3. The demand is brisk so all the plants are running full.

Eidai, a manufacturer of residential building materials and wooden boards from Osaka, also announced to increase the prices of all flooring products from December 2021. This is the second price hike this year following July. Prices of domestic softwood plywood, ocean freight, wooden board and adhesive all climbed, so the company needs to pass such higher cost onto finished products.

Raw material prices of adhesive started climbing since late 2020, which resulted in the manufacturers of MDF and particleboard increasing the sales price by 5-10% in the spring of 2021.

Urea prices stayed almost unchanged at US$200 per ton for whole year of 2020, then it started climbing to $350 in March, $500 in June and over $600 by October 2021.

Ethanol prices were less than $200 in June 2020 then went up to about $400 in December 2020, $350-380 in July and escalated over $500 in October. Melamine prices were $700 in 2020 then inflated over $3,000 in October 2021.

Urea and ethanol are both used for urea or melamine adhesive. Some Indonesian plywood manufacturer failed producing some items by shortage of adhesive. The largest reason of soaring adhesive prices is supply reduction by China, which has 40% share of urea supply in the world. China stopped importing coal from Australia by political reason, which is main fuel for electricity in China so power supply failed and disrupted production of urea. Also urea is mainly used for fertilizer in China, so supply of urea for adhesive is reduced.

Source: ITTO