Japan Wood Products
Dollar Exchange Rates of
28th Apr 2011
Japan Yen 81.54
Reports From Japan
Improving Sarawak log supply takes heat out of log market
Improved weather conditions allowing uninterrupted forest
harvesting and the slowing of orders for plywood from
Japan has resulted in an easing of the critical log supply in
Sarawak reports the JLR. This is very welcomed by
Another factor which is stabilising the SE. Asian log
market is the slowing of orders from Indian importers who
found the Indian market could not bear the high log prices.
Under these circumstances log supply and demand in the
domestic market and for export is better balanced so log
prices, while remaining firm, are not moving higher at
Sarawak regular Meranti log prices are currently around
US$350-360 per cubic metre FOB, unchanged from last
month but suppliers in Sarawak are still seeking prices of
US$370 per cubic metre.
Meranti small log prices are holding at US$320-330 while
super small logs are at US$300-310 per cubic metre
which, says the JLR, is about the upper level for these
In Japan, log prices for Sarawak Meranti regular, which
were landed in May, are at around Yen 8,900 per koku
CIF and the JLR is speculating that June arrivals would
come onto the market at prices of around Yen 9,000 per
Plywood mills in Japan having to pay Yen 9-10,000 per
koku for logs find it very hard to pass on these prices to
Orders for new homes holding up
There was deep concern amongst house builders in Japan
that there would be a sharp drop in demand for new homes
because of the unease felt by consumers over the East
Japan earthquake and the ongoing nuclear crisis.
However, the major house builders are reporting that
orders in April did not drop as much as expected but there
was a noticeable drop in visits to model homes by
prospective buyers so the future remains uncertain.
Wooden building design standard drafted
The Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport has
released the new building standard for wooden public
buildings to facilitate construction under the recently
enacted law to promote the use of more wood in public
This new standard sets out the requirements for building
life expectations, fire resistance and structural limits
which, says the Japan Lumber Reports (JLR), have not
been available until now.
Wood products used for the construction of public
buildings are required to be manufactured from forest
thinnings and certified legal timbers. It is required that the
buildings have a life of at least 50 years so the standards
on decay prevention and use of treated or naturally durable
wood are specified in detail.
Industrial material distribution
Materials needed for the construction of temporary homes
in east Japan are now moving steadily. Products such as
panels, piling, structural steel framing and household
fittings such as kitchens and bathrooms are all flowing
well to the disaster hit areas.
Because there is so much debris to remove engineering
works to rebuild the infrastructure have yet to get
underway. When this work begins there will be a second
surge in demand for industrial products and construction
Radiata pine log price doubled in two years
New Zealand radiata pine export log prices continue to
rise reports the JLR. This is opening opportunities for
exporters of alternative timbers and it is possible the
softwood log market in Japan will undergo a change.
The rise in Radiata log prices is put down mainly to the
aggressive purchasing by buyers in China. The JLR
reports that exports of Radiata logs from New Zealand to
China in December alone exceeded 700,000 cu.m for the
first time this is in comparison to imports by Japan which
were only 760,000 cu.m for the whole of 2010.