Exchange rate fluctuations drive down Japanese demand for important plywood

Japan’s tight supply of domestic and imported plywood continued after the New Year holidays. Active orders from precutting plants continued while future orders on imported plywood are at an absolute minimum volume due to possible exchange rate fluctuations, depending on policy the new president Trump takes.

The current market is affected by the recent depreciation of the yen so importers are asking for higher prices. Looking at market trend, some users of concrete forming panels trying to procure lower-priced items.

Accordingly, supply and demand are balanced.

Domestic softwood plywood production last December was 238,700cbm, three percent more year-on-year. Total yearly production was 2.89cbm, 11.9 percent more than in 2015, the highest in the last five years.

Monthly average production in the fourth quarter last year was 247 million cbm while shipment was 249,800cbm so shipments continue to exceed production. Total annual shipment was over 2.93cbm, 9.1 percent% more than 2015.

Inventories have been extremely low—under 100 million cbm since last August so plywood mills ship out as soon as produced with practically zero inventory.

December production of structural softwood plywood was 229,800cbm, 8.7 percent more YoY while total year production was 2.78 million cbm. December shipments were higher than production at 238 million cbm while inventory was 77,200cbm, 900cbm less than in November.

Some plywood manufacturers have increased sales prices slightly since January because of higher log prices and adhesive prices. They are considering hiking prices in February.


Source: ITTO