Stimulus measures in China boosts timber market, registering growth in Global Timber Index

Imported logs in Suifenhe, China (Image: CTWPDA via ITTO)

According to the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), China’s timber market grew in July 2023 with the country’s Global Timber Index (GTI) registering 53%, the second time since April it has exceeded the 50% threshold, indicating growth in the sector.

As reported in the latest edition of the GTI Report, the rebound came as 13 government departments in China issued the Notice on Several Measures to Promote Home Furnishing Consumption.

The news was also positive for the timber sector in Gabon, where the GTI increased by 7 percentage points in July to 51.3%, driven by factors such as a larger harvesting volume, a higher number of employees in both production and management, and more active delivery.

As for other countries, ITTO reported that the timber sector was relatively stable in Indonesia and Brazil in July. Indonesia’s GTI was at 50%, down by 5.3 percentage points, indicating that the overall level of timber processing and manufacturing was unchanged since June.

Although Brazil’s GTI remained in the contraction range in July at 35.3%, the decline was minimal compared with June.

The news was less positive in other countries. The GTIs of Malaysia, the Congo and Mexico were 34.7%, 34.8% and 43.4% respectively, with continued declines in activity showing the sluggishness of those countries’ timber markets.

The July edition of the GTI Report updated the challenges facing the timber sector, as reported by GTI-participating enterprises. Timber-producing countries have seen declines in export demand in 2023 due to the ongoing contraction of international market demand, and some enterprises in Brazil said they have put workers on furlough in response.

Companies in the Congo reported a marked slowdown in demand for species such as okoume and ayous in Asian markets, especially China. In light of a log-export ban in the Congo, China imported only 2,614m3 of okoume in June, down by 95% compared with the same period last year and a drop of 90% compared with the preceding month.

GTI-participating enterprises made various suggestions for tackling challenges in their countries. For example, enterprises in Mexico suggested new policies for raising green-purchasing awareness, and Gabonese enterprises said they were looking to diversify their products to increase competitiveness.