Japan’s plywood demand hits record low, but wooden door imports on the rise

Wooden door imports
Year on year, the value of Japan’s March wooden door imports rose 26 per cent and compared to the value of imports in February there was a five per cent jump in March. First quarter 2019 imports of wooden doors were six per cent higher than in the same period in 2018.

In March the top shippers of wooden doors to Japan were China, the Philippines and Indonesia. China accounted for 60 per cent of March imports of wooden doors followed by the Philippines (22 per cent) and Indonesia.

Wooden window imports
Following the year on year decline in the value of wooden window imports in February, March year on year imports continued down, falling 11 per cent. However, there was a slight up-tick in the month on month imports (eight per cent). First quarter 2019 imports of wooden windows were little changed from a year earlier.

Some 70 per cent of Japan’s March imports of wooden windows were supplied by China (41 per cent) and the US (33 per cent). Shipments from Sweden contributed another two to three per cent with the balance being shipped from mainly manufacturers in the EU.

The value of assembled flooring imports nosedived in February and the downward trend extended into March with year on year imports dropping a further 26 per cent. The month on month trend was no better with an over 25 per cent decline recorded.

March imports of wooden flooring were predominately of HS441875 which was 97 per cent of all categories of wooden flooring imports. March imports were dominated by shippers in two countries, Indonesia and China.

Shipments from Indonesia accounted for 46 per cent of all March imports of wooden flooring and shipments from China added a further 44 per cent. In previous months shipments from Thailand were significant but this was not so in March.

First quarter 2019 imports of assembled flooring were 15 per cent below that in the first quarter 2018.

Plywood imports
Japan’s March 2019 plywood imports dropped below 150,000 cubic metres, a record low. Plywood demand remains firm and more of the domestic demand is being met from domestic production from domestic raw materials as well as imported veneer. Year on year March import volumes were 13 per cent down and month on month March imports fell a massive 24 per cent.

Compared to the first quarter of 2018 plywood imports fell six per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

As usual, the top three suppliers Malaysia, Indonesia and China continued to dominate plywood imports but all three saw March shipments drop.

Shipments from Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest suppliers, fell 26 per cent year on year in March 2019 and shipments from China were also down 10% year on year.

More startling was the month on month shipments from all three main suppliers with China witnessing a 60 per cent decline only just beating the 64 per cent decline in shipments from Vietnam which was beginning to gain market share.