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Japan Wood Products Prices

16-30th November 2006

Japan Wood Products Prices

Dollar Exchange Rates of  30th November 2006

Japan Yen 115.63

Reports From Japan

Plywood prices to peak as winter season approaches
Prices for Southeast Asian panel seemed to be peaking in late November. According to some Japanese traders, some Indonesian and Malaysian suppliers’ were asking prices below last price levels. Demand was slowing due to the approaching winter season. In northern Japan, building activities were slowing down due to the first snowfalls.

In Osaka, the demand for panels remained strong. Plywood manufacturer Seihoku had been shipping softwood panels to the Osaka market, but inadequate supply has forced Osaka dealers to look for substituting materials such as OSB and particleboard. Prices for domestic softwood plywood prices were still more than 30% lower than those for Southeast Asian panels. Seihoku, Japan’s major softwood panel maker, has raised the prices ten times since early this year.

China takes the lion share of Japan’s furniture imports
Japan’s furniture imports totaled ¥240.64 billion during the first half of 2006, up 111% from last year, according to the Ministry of Finance. Wood furniture accounted for 46% of the imports while metallic, rattan and other material furniture accounted for 20%, 1% and 2%, respectively. Imports of furniture parts accounted for the balance (31%). Imports of all these categories rose in the period, except rattan furniture.

Japan imported almost 87% of the wooden furniture from Asia in the period under review. China (46%), Thailand (12%) and Vietnam (10%) were the largest suppliers. Imports from Europe accounted for 12% of the imports, notably from Italy (38% of the imports from Europe), Germany (16%) and Denmark (12%). With regards to rattan furniture, 89% of the imports came from Indonesia. With respect to the imports of furniture parts, China was the largest supplier (40%), followed by Mexico (15%), the USA, Australia, Germany, Taiwan PoC and Thailand.

Nippon Oil to develop biofuel from Malaysian palm oil
Nippon Oil Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. will jointly develop a new diesel fuel made from palm oil, in conjunction with the Malaysian state-run petroleum company Petronas. The three companies will start joint research in 2007 and begin test production in Malaysia in 2009. It would be the first major attempt in the world to convert palm oil into automotive fuel, according to the companies. Palm oil is extracted from coconuts and commonly used in margarine and pastry production. Nippon Oil is looking to gain the upper hand in the biofuel market by collaborating with Malaysia, the world’s largest palm oil producer.

The move comes as Japan, the world’s third largest oil consumer, prepared to set up nationwide biodiesel standards in an effort to diminish dependency on crude oil and help ease global warming. If palm oil gains widespread acceptance in Japan as an alternative to petroleum, it would increase demand for this product from Southeast Asian. The project started to take shape after the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asked Japan in May 2006 to collaborate with his country in exploring biofuel technology.


LM        Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS         Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR            French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Plywood grades. Letter(s) on the left indicate face veneer(s), those on the right backing veneer(s). Veneer grade decreases in order B, BB, C, CC, etc. MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF         Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot  PHND             Pin hole no defect grade
Hoppus ton     1.8 cubic metres              Price has moved up or down

Source: ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report

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