Japan’s imported plywood volume lowest in 20 years

Total plywood supply in 2019 is 5,859,100 cubic metres, 4.6% less than 2018. This is the first time that total supply decreased to less than 6 million m3 in three years. Both production and shipment of domestic softwood plywood in 2019 recorded the highest. Meanwhile imported plywood in 2019 is the lowest in last 20 years. In particular, the supply from Malaysia dropped to less than one million cbms, the lowest in last 24 years since 1995.

Share of domestic plywood in 2019 is 56.7 %, with an y-o-y increase of 4.3%. In 2019, domestic supply exceeded 3 million m3 and imported plywood was a record low. For the first time last year, domestic share exceeded imports.

Supply of imported plywood has been under three million cbms since 2015 when the supply decreased from Sarawak, Malaysia due to environmental restrictions. The supply was down to 2,700,000 cbms in 2016 then over 2,900,000 cbms in 2017 and 2018 but in 2019, the importers reduced purchase due to high export prices and depressed market in Japan.

There were four months in 2019 where monthly arrivals were less than 200,000 m3 so total supply dropped down to 2,535,000 m3, 13.3% less than 2018. Supply from all the major sources decreased. Malaysian supply was 874,900 m3. Chinese supply was less than 600,000 m3, the lowest in ten years. Indonesia supply was less than 900,000 m3.