Tough time for plywood manufacturers in Malaysia

Malaysian plywood manufacturers have lost market share in Japan, their key export market, due to stiff competition from Indonesian suppliers and the sharp increase in local production of plywood from domestic softwood resources.

Statistics from the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp. (STIDC) reveal that Sarawak plywood export volumes fell to about 1.12 million cubic metres, worth RM2.26 bil (FOB), in 2019 from 1.43 million cubic metres (RM3.03 bil) in 2018 and 1.74 million cubic metres (RM3.27 bil) in 2017.

Despite the drop in sales, in 2019 Japan was the top buyer of Sarawak plywood absorbing 733,051 cubic metres (RM1.59 bil) or more than 70 per cent of the state’s total plywood exports. Sarawak log export volumes dropped to 1.29 million cubic metres worth RM722.2mil in 2019 against 1.42 million cubic metres valued at RM773 mil in 2018.