Japan’s import of European softwood lumber in 2015 fell 4.6% to 2.3 billion cubic metres from 2014. Although demand may have been slow, shipments from Europe exceeded that of North America (2.2 billion cubic metres) making it the top softwood supplier in the last three years.
Demand for structural laminated lumber and small common lumber was weak. Lamina and stud imports fell in volume but not as low as 2014 levels.
Lamina imports were largely unaffected as precutting plants shied away from imported products out of fear of drop in market price and shifted to using more domestic laminated lumber instead as it has a much shorter delivery period.
However, export prices of lamina remained low, particularly on white wood. Sweden, which is one of Japan’s major lamina suppliers, recorded a fall in shipment volumes. Finland is the largest exporter to Japan with a 35% market share in volume terms. Finnish lumber and lamina exports are expanding since UPM shifted to concentrate on lumber business