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Japan Wood Products Prices

16-31th March 2007

Japan Wood Products Prices
Dollar Exchange Rates of  30th
March  2007
Japan Yen 117.84

Reports From Japan

Traders regard tropical log market as still bullish
Japanese traders met recently at the Southeast Asia Lumber Conference in Tokyo. Attendees agreed that the price situation for tropical logs remained bullish. There were reports that the rainy season still continued in timber producing areas such as Sabah and Sarawak. Following
the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations, workers have returned to the logging sites, but the productivity was reportedly about half of the usual pace.

Demand for softwood plywood expands
The plywood market conditions of softwood and Southeast Asian plywood seems contrasting in Japan. Major housing companies and regional builders are rushing to secure thick softwood plywood, particularly 24-28mm which are used for base sheets of houses. The usage of thick plywood for floor foundations is spreading among builders and demand is expected to increase further. Japanese manufacturers of softwood plywood have frequently raised prices, following price hikes for Russian logs. Prices of 12mm plywood, for instance, are now close to the levels of those for tropical plywood.

Domestic prices for plywood are bottoming
In contrast, the market for imported plywood had been deemed as “bearish” due to adequate stocks. However, discounted products are gradually disappearing from the Japanese market due to stock adjustments. The decline of domestic prices for tropical plywood seemed to be bottoming out in late March. In Southeast Asia, exporters continued to hold plywood prices firm on the back of increasingly expensive logs.

2006 Japanese log imports slow down to 2005 levels
Imports of tropical logs by Japan fell 30% to 98,329 m3 in December. Japanese imports of tropical logs have been mostly declining since September due to Ramadan and New Year festivities, after growing for most of the year since March 2006, helped by stronger prices (see chart). Overall, total Japanese imports of tropical logs amounted to 1.37 million m3 in 2006, a mere 0.1% up from 2005. Log imports in 2006 came from Malaysia (78.3%, over two-thirds of which from Sarawak), PNG (13.8%), Solomon Isl. (7.7%) and Africa (0.5%). Tropical log exports to Japan were anticipated to decrease in early 2007 due to reduced supply during the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.



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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