Japan’s wooden door imports rose 10 per cent in January

A report published by Japan Lumber Reports (JLR) has observed an increase in the value of the country’s January imports of wooden doors as compared to December 2018, with a 10 per cent increase recorded.

Four supply countries accounted for approximately 90 per cent of all Japan’s wooden door imports: China (60 per cent), the Philippines (18 per cent), Indonesia (seven per cent) and Malaysia (five per cent).

Wooden window imports
After falling sharply in December following a surge in imports in November 2018, the value of imports steadied in January coming in at around the average for the previous year. Year on year, January 2019 wood window imports rose 12 per cent but observed little change from recorded levels in December 2018.

In January 2019 the top suppliers were China (33 per cent), USA (19 per cent), Sweden (17 per cent) and the Philippines (15 per cent), representing over 80 per cent of the value of all shipments of wooden windows to Japan.

Assembled wooden flooring imports
Year on year the value of Japan’s January 2019 imports of assembled wooden flooring dipped by 27 per cent, but month on month the value of imports was found to have risen by 25 per cent.

In January 2019 three products accounted for all wooden floor imports: HS441873 (16 per cent), HS441875 (64 per cent) and HS441879 (20 per cent). As in previous months HS441875 accounted for most of the wooden floor imports with shippers in China, Thailand and Indonesia accounting for 61 per cent, 12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Plywood imports
As was the case in 2018, three supply countries continued to account for over 85 per cent of Japan’s imports of plywood in January 2019. These were found to be Malaysia, Indonesia and China dominating plywood imports, but shippers in Vietnam are steadily securing market share.

Year on year, the volume of Japan’s January 2019 imports of plywood (HS441210-39) were down by nine per cent, but compared to the volume of imports in December there was a steep rise in January imports – this was mainly due to a 34 per cent rise in shipments from Malaysia (68,000 cubic metres in December 2018 to 91,200 in January 2019).

January shipments from China were little changed year on year and month on month, but Indonesian shipments were down 17 per cent compared to January 2018, and 11 per cent compared to a month earlier.

HS441231 is the main category of plywood imports into Japan accounting for over 80 per cent of all arrivals in January 2019.

Increasing use of domestic wood
The Wooden Home Builders Association of Japan has disclosed results of a survey about the use of domestic wood for wooden houses through house builders and pre-cutting plants. This survey is conducted once every three years.

160 members of housing companies responded, which built 62,412 units. 66 pre-cutting companies responded, which supplied 117,023 units in 2017. The percentage of domestic wood use by house builders in 2017 was 45.4 per cent, which was 13.1 points more than what the previous survey recorded.

By members, more than 50 per cent is domestic wood which are used for sills, studs, girders, floor sheathing, walls and roofs. The use of domestic wood by pre-cutting plants currently sits at 33 per cent, 1.5 points up from the previous recording. Sill and structural panel are two items with over 50 per cent of domestic wood.

The use of domestic wood increased for post, sill, standard lumber and plywood but use for other members decreased. There was a remarkable change recorded in the use of laminated lumber from solid wood lumber on both house builders and pre-cutting plants.

House builders’ use of lumber is 32 per cent, 9.6 points less than what was found in the 2014 survey while laminated lumber is 63.9 per cent, 7.9 points up. Pre-cutting plants’ use of lumber is 33.7 per cent, 25.8 points less while laminated lumber is 63.4 per cent, 24.8 points more.

By species, an increased use of cedar and Douglas fir laminated lumber is apparent. House builders use 7.6 per cent of cedar laminated lumber, which is 1.7 times more than was previously recorded, while pre-cutting plants use 5.3 per cent of cedar laminated lumber, an increase of more than 2.5 times. The increased usage of Douglas fir laminated lumber is likely a result of the tight supply of European redwood laminated lumber in 2017.