Wood Products Prices
Exchange Rates of 15th January 2007
Log exports to Japan recover spurred by rising prices
Import of tropical logs by Japan surged 33% to 165,800 m3 in September. Japanese imports of tropical logs have
been growing since March 2006 helped by stronger prices (see chart). However, total Japanese imports of tropical
logs amounted to 1.02 million m3 in the year to
September, 4% below last year’s import volume. Accumulated log imports through September 2006 came
from Malaysia (77%, two-thirds of which from Sarawak), PNG (14%), Solomon Isl. (8%) and Africa (0.5%).
Tropical log exports to Japan were anticipated to decrease toward the end of 2006 and early 2007 due to reduced
supply during the New Year and Lunar New Year
festivities. This will likely drive prices further up.
Indonesia lumber continues to lose ground in Japan
Japan’s imports of Asian lumber amounted to 43,150 m3 in October (see chart). Accumulated lumber imports through
October fell 4.9% to 432,800 m3, compared with the same period last year. Imports through October 2006 came
mainly from Malaysia (up 3.7% to 166,900 m3) and China (up 7.6% to 133,200 m3). Lumber imports from Indonesia,
formerly Japan’s second largest supplier, continued to decline due to a shortage of logs, plunging 29% to 107,400
m3 in Jan-Oct 2006.
Japanese imports of plywood recover
Total volume of plywood supply surged to 770,000 m3 in October, up 15% from September, due to a recovery in
Japanese plywood imports. Domestic plywood supply rose to 287,000 m3, the second highest level in the year, while
imports soared 22% to 483,774 m3. By import source,
241,000 m3 came from Malaysia (up 12.6%), 168,000 m3 from Indonesia (up 47%) and 62,000 m3 from China (up
17%). China’s accumulated plywood exports through October totalled 507,000 m3, up 52.2% from 2005.
Plywood supply from Southeast Asia recovered sharply,
following the end of Ramadan and associated festivities and lured by higher export prices. Japan’s total plywood
imports were 4.6% above the pace in 2005. However, domestic plywood prices in Japan weakened slightly in
November and December, particularly for thin plywood,
due to sluggish demand during those months.
Adhesive prices surge due to higher methanol costs
Adhesive manufacturers continue to face growing raw material costs due to higher methanol prices. CIF Japan
prices of methanol have been rising steeply since last September, surging from $332 per ton to $400 in October,
$490 in November and $500 in December, up more than
50% in the period. Manufacturers indicated that the production cost of adhesive for wood building materials
such as plywood, MDF and laminated lumber increases ￥3.5-4 per kg for every ￥10 hike in methanol prices.
Adhesive manufacturers announced that, in addition to
previous price hikes in late June and early July, they would raise prices to account for additional costs.